Governor Jay Nixon (D) is unwavering in his support of a St. Louis NFL stadium deal as it’s drawn up now, but he doesn’t see the potential new stadium as part of his legacy.
Nixon is sticking by the plan to extend the bonds on the NFL stadium in St. Louis to pay part of the cost of replacing it, despite opposition by many lawmakers in both parties. He told Missourinet the opportunity to revitalize the Mississippi Riverfront between the St. Louis Arch and the Stan Musial bridge can’t be ignored.
“There are currently 53 buildings and only three of them are occupied,” said Nixon. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I’ve been in public service for coming on 30 years and nobody has tried to redevelop that difficult site before.”
“For me, I would not be nearly as interested in this if somebody was talking about building a stadium out in a greenfield somewhere in west St. Louis County,” said Nixon, “but the fact that we can get a significant two-for here, which is to redevelop the riverfront, and not raise taxes, and get over a half-a-billion dollars of private money invested – all of those are solid reason why this is a project that I think under the construct it has now is one that, assuming we can get a long-term tenant, we should move forward with.”
A person sitting in the waiting room outside Nixon’s Capitol office Monday afternoon could hear one side of the conversation as phone calls came in from people wanting to tell the governor how each of them felt about the deal.
Nixon wants those callers to understand the deal won’t advance without a team.
“A lot of this is contingent on whether the NFL – which way they vote January 12 and 13 as to whether they say the Rams can move or not,” said Nixon. “And if they say the Rams can’t move, whether we can negotiate a long-term deal, but I think everybody needs to understand we’re not going to build a stadium and hope that a team comes and plays in it.”
Nixon, whose final year as governor is 2016, told Missourinet he doesn’t see the project as part of his legacy.
“I started with two NFL teams. I’d like to end with two NFL teams in the state. I’ve got two baseball teams, too. I’d like to have those. You see those are things that people rally around. You saw the Royals this year. My golly, 700-thousand people standing out there. These are things that can bring communities together,” said Nixon but adding, “I don’t see the stadiums as my legacy.”
He said he sees his legacy as having dealt with some of the economic issues the state has faced during his term, and keeping college tuition down.
Read more about what Nixon discusses in considering his legacy in a future story at Missourinet.com.