CINCINNATI — An architectural consultant is urging the Bengals to spend nearly $25 million a year to address long-term capital repair needs at Paul Brown Stadium over the next 20 years.
That’s six times what the Paul Brown Capital Repair fund spent in the last four years, according to a WCPO 9 I-Team analysis of county spending, using numbers obtained in a public record request.
The I-Team looked at spending over four years ending in 2021. The biggest payments by far — $102.5 million — went to pay off debt for the 22-year-old stadium. The county still owes $189.2 million in bond debt. It cost taxpayers $40 million in interest payments alone.
Operational expenses, including utility costs, lawn care, insurance coverage, office supplies and payments in lieu of taxes to Cincinnati Public Schools, cost $58.2 million over four years.
Capital expenses, including structural repairs, telecommunications upgrades and computer networking expenses, added up to $16.4 million.
Despite the relatively small capital budget, Paul Brown Stadium has “good bones” after two decades, said Demetra Thornton, principal and managing director of Gensler, a Los Angeles, Calif. -based architectural firm.
“When we say structure we’re thinking seating bowl, the floor slabs, the columns, the beams. All the things that hold the building up,” Thornton told county officials Tuesday. “And after our analysis, we feel like it’s in good shape. It’s been well maintained in the last 20 years.”