Canton Repository uses public records to determine who paid for new Hall of Fame stadium


Throughout its reconstruction, confusion has circulated about how Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium was paid for — mostly, about how much public money helped to finance the nearly $139 million project.

The answer: $15 million.

The rest of the stadium was paid through private donations and loans, according to financial documents The Canton Repository obtained through public records requests.

Comparatively, most football stadiums built in the past decade have relied on at least 25 percent funding in public dollars, usually far higher percentages.

Budget documents prepared by developers and filed with the Stark County Port Authority detail how much the stadium cost, where money came from and how costs changed during construction. They show the financing plan largely relied on equity, loans and naming rights — not on public support.

Benson Stadium was dedicated last August, but some work remains. The east end zone needs to be built, estimated to cost $8 million, as does the permanent scoreboard, which will be part of the facade of another building envisioned for the Village.

The stadium is the most visible component of the nearly $1 billion Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village planned for the campus around the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Several new youth fields also have been constructed, and a four-star hotel broke ground more than a year ago, with resumption expected this year.

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