News Bite

Michigan county shelves $90 million taxpayer-funded sports complex after CapCon reporting

Lenawee County officials claimed the project would boost county GDP by 18%

A Michigan county has shelved plans to build a nearly $90 million sports complex, largely with taxpayer dollars, after unfavorable news coverage and pushback from the local communities. Lenawee County’s Project Phoenix was the proposed recreation and events center in Tecumseh, Michigan.

According to the Adrian Daily Telegram, “County officials had been counting on up to $10 million in state funding and $5 million from the federal government to go toward the project, which, at the high end, had an estimated cost of $88.8 million.”

But consultants and politicians said due to misinformation and propaganda, the likelihood of getting millions in state funding had dropped.

Michigan Capitol Confidential previously reported that Lenawee County officials wanted to use COVID relief money on the massive sports complex. Their plan received pushback from local township leaders who wanted to use the funding for core government services.

A county economic report projected a total of $480 million in economic output from the project, which would mean an 18% increase in the county’s GDP. Chris Douglas, an economist at the University of Michigan-Flint who studies stadium subsidies, called this estimate “implausible, to say the least.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.