Eminent Domain for Private Sports Stadiums: Fair Ball or Foul?

By Weinberg, Philip | Environmental Law, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Eminent Domain for Private Sports Stadiums: Fair Ball or Foul?


Weinberg, Philip, Environmental Law


I.   INTRODUCTION
II.  ANOTHER TRAGIC WEST SIDE STORY?
III. GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN SPORTS STADIUMS
IV.  IS ACQUIRING LAND FOR PRIVATE STADIUMS A PUBLIC USE?
V.   CITY AID FOR PRIVATE STADIUMS: A SOUND INVESTMENT?
VI.  CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

"Bread and circuses" have been the traditional offerings of government to restive urban citizens since the days of the Caesars. Today's American governors and mayors have lately begun to follow this path, allotting public funds and using the eminent domain power to acquire land for sports stadiums subsequently conveyed to profit-making business enterprises. Diverting public moneys for these uses might be legally and economically dubious at any time, but to do so when public schools, health, and transportation are perennially deprived of adequate resources seems especially wrong-headed. In particular, the use of the eminent domain power for these purposes, I submit, violates the "public use" mandate of the Constitution.

This Essay first describes two current battlegrounds concerning this issue--the proposals to build partially government-financed private stadiums on Manhattan's midtown West Side and in downtown Brooklyn. It then briefly explores the history of government financing and promotion of sports stadiums in the United States, which started in the 1920s and has gathered momentum in recent years. The Essay next examines whether exercising the power of eminent domain for private stadiums is a public use under the Constitution, and finally, whether municipal funding of private stadiums is beneficial or harmful to large but financially deprived cities.

II. ANOTHER TRAGIC WEST SIDE STORY?

The City of New York has long thirsted to place a major sports stadium on the West Side of Manhattan. In the 1990s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani brandished plans to move Yankee Stadium from its historic Bronx location to the area between Penn Station and the Hudson River. This foundered on the Yankees' management's insistence that the city foot most of the bill, as well as resentment over the team abandoning the Bronx. (1) Under current Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a proposal has been advanced to build a stadium for the National Football League's New York Jets (now in New Jersey), tied in with plans to enlarge the Javits Convention Center. (2) The city characterizes the stadium as a "multi-use facility" for "sports, exhibition, and entertainment events," including NCAA games, soccer matches, and concerts, in addition to Jets football. (3) The current plan envisages a 75,000-seat sports stadium that could be "reconfigured" into a hall or convention facility adjacent to the existing convention center and possibly used in the 2012 Olympics, should New York host the Games. (4) The city anticipates that the Jets will pay for the multi-use facility, except for its roof and the platform over the rail yards below it--its floor, in effect--which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is to pay for. (5)

Opponents of the project have voiced concern over the facility's impacts on the area--particularly the increased traffic, poorer air quality, heightened noise, and potential land-use restrictions--together with its cost. Some are skeptical about the plan for the Jets to shoulder much of the expense, estimated at $1.4 billion. (6) According to the proposal, the Jets are to contribute $800 million and the city and state $300 million each. (7)

Proponents of the West Side stadium contend it will create employment--18,000 construction workers and 6,700 permanent employees, (8) Mayor Bloomberg has enthusiastically embraced it as "the centerpiece of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics." (9) As noted, the overall proposal, priced at $2.8 billion, includes expanding the Javits Convention Center and extending the subway to reach these structures several long blocks west of the nearest existing mass transit.

West Side residents and their local elected officials appear hostile to the stadium, though they favor the subway improvements.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Eminent Domain for Private Sports Stadiums: Fair Ball or Foul?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.