Cotton Bowl Revitalization

In our Council briefing today, we discussed updating the Cotton Bowl at Fair Park. The venue is in desperate need of repair and renovations. The revitalization plan is contingent on colleges committing to play at the venue for at least twelve years.

In general, the Council was very supportive of the proposal, but wanted to ensure that we aggressively seek naming rights to off-set the cost of renovations. There were also concerns that we need to actively revitalize and invest in the area surrounding Fair Park.

There are two phases in the proposed plan. Most notably, the revitalization would add about 16,000 seats by creating a second ring of seating above the current Cotton Bowl. The architecture would be indistinguishable from the original Art Deco structure.

More info on Phases 1 and 2:

Phase 1 ($19 million)
Phase 1 would be funded jointly by the State Fair of Texas (which runs the Cotton Bowl) and the City of Dallas. The City currently charges the State Fair $1.2M in rent. The current proposal provides that the City would waive the rent for ten years, and the State Fair would instead put those funds into Phase 1 construction. In addition, the State Fair would match those funds and contribute an additional $1.2M/year. Phase 1 includes:

Increase seating capacity from 76,000 to 92,107
Build restrooms and concession stands to service new seating areas
Install a new scoreboard, video board, sound system, ticket gates, premium-level seating and elevators to service the upper deck
Improve the stadium facade at its end zones

Phase 2 ($26 million to $30 million)
Phase 2 would be paid for through a bond program which must be approved by voters. A bond election will likely take place in November 2006. Phase 2 includes:

Replace existing seats, which were installed in 1968, with bench-with-back seating
Install new lighting, signage, graphics and utilities
Refurbish existing stadium concourses
Add additional seating for disabled people

Read the briefing.