The Canton-Stark County Port Authority is moving forward with plans to issue bonds to fund the ongoing development of Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls.
At a special meeting last week, port authorities approved the issuance of special obligation revenue bonds to generate $7.5 million in core performance. We also approved a preliminary agreement for a $19.5 million tax increase loan bond to help fund the infrastructure costs of the project.
The bond is separate from a $5 million loan to Hall of Fame Resorts and Entertainment from Stark County’s new revolving loan fund approved by the Port Authority in August.
more:Stark Port Authority Approves $5 Million Loan for Hall of Fame Village
The Hall of Fame Resort is using various forms of financing to build the Hall of Fame Village campus around the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Special Duty Revenue Bond is paid for with taxes collected through the Hall of Fame Village Tourism Development District. The district allows additional taxes on parking, admission, and sales built into the cost of events on the village campus.
The city will collect additional taxes and the Port Authority will use the funds to pay the bond. The state used the proceeds from the Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund to purchase the Port Authority’s bonds. Under this arrangement, the Port Authority would act as a conduit, with taxes collected by the city at the Hall of Fame Village going to the Port Authority and then to the state.
The $19.5 million tax increase loan bond will be used in several ways. The port authorities expect to complete the process by the end of the year.
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Bonds help pay for building the infrastructure that supports the village. This includes rebuilding Blake Avenue NW from Fulton Road to NW 17th Street and the side streets that cross Blake. Hall of Fame Village plans to own and maintain the road.
It also plans to use approximately $9.3 million to refinance bonds issued in 2018 through the Summit County Port Authority. At the time, tax-raised loans were being used to work on the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and youth playground south of McKinley High School.
The increased tax funding will cover stadiums and youth athletic fields, the Constellation Center for Excellence, the Performance Center, and two retail buildings due for completion this year.
These properties are part of a 30-year tax-enhancing financing agreement for Village development with Canton City and Plain Local School Districts approved in 2015. The deal will reduce the amount of property tax increases paid by developers as they improve or build properties. Instead of paying higher taxes, the village pays the service fund evenly. 75% of that payment will cover public infrastructure and 25% will be distributed to school districts.
There was discussion about including the 180-room hotel and the water park in the warranty claim, but both were excluded from the current warranty contract. Including the project, the bond will push him up to $28 million.
Board members of the port authority have questioned how the bond will be paid and whether the agency could be held liable. Lawyers for the companies working on the bond project — Squires, Patton and Boggs — said steps were being taken to ensure bond payments should the Hall of Fame village default.
Contact Edd at 330-580-8484 or [email protected] Twitter: @epritchardREP