CLEVELAND — Cleveland City Council is set to take its final vote on its portion of a $435 million Progressive Field renovation package that would ensure the Cleveland Guardians remain in Cleveland through 2036.
The legislation is on the council’s agenda for its Monday meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.
It made the agenda despite several members saying at last week’s Finance Committee hearing they still have unanswered questions about the proposal. Several members expressed reticence over how the city would use funds generated from the Gateway East Garage to pay for the renovations. All told, the city is expected to contribute more than $8 million that would go toward ballpark improvements
If approved, the city would use $2 million generated annually from proceeds from the Gateway East Garage next to Progressive Field, as members noted that revenue generated from the garage is not always stable. Some were concerned that lower-than-expected revenue would result in the city using general funds to cover the costs.
The proposed legislation would also give the Guardians the option to purchase the Gateway East Garage from the city for $25 million during the next 24 months.
Cuyahoga County previously approved its portion of the deal.
Progressive Field is 27 years old, and city and county leaders say using public funds to renovate the stadium would prevent any discussion of the team relocating to another city.
The Indians’ lease currently expires in 2023. The updated lease would extend the agreement through 2036, with a pair of options that would allow for it to be extended through 2046.
Earlier this month, Cuyahoga County agreed to its portion of the deal. For the next 15 years, the city and county would spend a combined $17 million annually on stadium renovations. The state of Ohio is set to chip in $2 million annually. The agreement calls on the team to pay for 35% of the improvements and any overages.
At 27 years old, officials said the stadium lacks some of the amenities found in newer stadiums. Progressive Field is the 11th oldest stadium out of 30 in MLB. Several older stadiums, including Wrigley Field in Chicago and Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, have undergone significant renovations in recent years.
Pending city approval, stadium improvements could begin around the start of the 2022 MLB season.
The club says that improvements to the stadium would include an expanded team clubhouse and facilities, opening the left field terrace and knocking down some of the concrete walls in the upper deck to provide a view of the field from the concourse.
While officials note that the Indians have not threatened to relocate after 2023, a no vote would likely raise speculation over the club’s future in the city.