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Murray: No RDA funds for stadium

Published February 17, 2005 1:18 am

City Council statement: Property tax money won't be used to underwrite a professional soccer venue
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

MURRAY - A land purchase for a potential Major League Soccer stadium in Murray won't be coming from a redevelopment agency.

The Murray City Council - which doubles as the communities RDA board - said in a written statement Wednesday that it has no intention of using property tax money from an RDA to buy land for Real Salt Lake's future 22,000-seat stadium.

Murray and Salt Lake City are the only two cities vying for the fledgling soccer team. Initially, city leaders from both communities said RDA funds could be used to pay for the stadium.

The City Council's statement isn't a deal-breaker for Murray and Real, said Murray Mayor Dan Snarr. The city could tap other funds and invest in other infrastructure as a way to attract Real to the central Salt Lake Valley community.

Snarr points to north of the project, where the city invested millions of dollars in an economic dead zone near 5300 South and State Street long before an RDA was created. The area is now the future home of Intermountain Health Care's flagship hospital, which has been expanded to an entire medical campus.

"If the city didn't take the initiative on that site, nothing would have happened," Snarr said.

The statement by the City Council came as Murray mulls how to redevelop a 99-acre tract of land that surrounds a light rail station at 4400 South. That RDA - which allows the city to tap potential increases in property taxes to spur development - is months away from obtaining a final approval in Murray.

Salt Lake City leaders are also struggling with how to entice Real as estimates for a land purchase in the downtown area exceed $15 million.

While it would be cheaper in Murray, City Council members have other plans for their potential RDA funds.

"The RDA plans to use those funds for infrastructure such as roads, water, sewer and power upgrades," the statement says.

The use of RDA funds to attract sports stadiums has been a topic at the Legislature. Earlier Wednesday, lawmakers forwarded a bill that would prohibit such uses of RDA funds.