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UPDATE: Missouri approves revised deal for Chiefs training camp

Thursday, June 18, 2009 | 2:21 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Kansas City Chiefs will move their training camp from Wisconsin to Missouri for at least a decade under a revised deal approved Thursday by a state finance board in Missouri.

Missouri will provide $25 million in tax credits to the Chiefs, part of which will help finance a new indoor training facility at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

In exchange for the state aid, the Chiefs must hold their summer camp in Missouri for at least 10 years, beginning in 2010, or else pay the state penalties.

The Chiefs have trained at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls since 1991, when they relocated from William Jewell College in a Kansas City suburb to escape Missouri's heat and humidity.

The Missouri Development Finance Board originally approved the Chiefs' tax credits in December under former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

After taking office in January, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's administration raised concerns that the written agreement signed with the Chiefs didn't match the terms that had been presented to the board.

Nixon's administration specifically objected to wording that required the Chiefs to train in Missouri for just five years with an option for five one-year extensions, instead of a flat 10-year commitment.

The revised agreement approved Thursday requires the Chiefs to train in Missouri for at least 10 years, even if they don't stay at Missouri Western State University.

The updated agreement also includes new penalties ranging from $500,000 to $11 million if the Chiefs move their training camp from Missouri before the 10-year agreement expires.

Nixon proclaimed it "a solid agreement" that will bring the Chiefs' camp to St. Joseph "while also respecting and protecting Missouri taxpayers' dollars."

"By locating their training camp at Missouri Western, the Chiefs will provide a top-quality new athletic facility for the university's students and the community, and the excitement of the annual training camp will help create jobs and boost the region's economy," Nixon said in a written statement.

A spokesman for the Chiefs had no immediate comment Thursday.

Chiefs President Denny Thum was to join Nixon and Missouri Western President Robert Vartabedian during a news conference later Thursday at the university to discuss the agreement.

Under the revised deal, the Chiefs are to contribute $10 million toward construction of the indoor practice facility, which they would use for only a few weeks each August. The rest of the year, Missouri Western State University could use it for its own athletics or community events.

The remainder of the $25 million in state tax credits is to go toward the ongoing renovation of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The new incentives are on top of $50 million in tax credits awarded in June 2006 for the renovation of the adjacent Chiefs and Kansas City Royals stadiums.

The total cost of renovating the two stadiums is estimated to exceed $700 million, according to information previously submitted to the finance board. Most of that is coming from a local bond issue backed by a voter-approved three-eighths cent sales tax.

 


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