Saint Louis, MO

Here’s how St. Louis plans to spend the $790 million received in the Rams relocation settlement

Jalyn Smoot

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Photo byJasen Vinlove/USA Today

ST. LOUIS- A year after reaching a record settlement with the NFL and former Rams owner Stan Kroenke, the St. Louis region has a tentative plan in place on how to spend it.

Before breaking down how the hundreds of millions will be allocated, let’s first take a quick look at how we got here.

Kroenke, who hastily (and perhaps unethically) moved the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles, paid $790 million to settle a lawsuit filed by St. Louis interests over the team’s relocation.

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The Rams played 21 seasons in St. Louis, including a Super Bowl victory in 1999Photo byCreative Commons

Here’s what Mayor Tishaura Jones had to say when the multi-million-dollar settlement was reached last November:

This historic agreement closes a long chapter for our region, securing hundreds of millions of dollars for our communities while avoiding the uncertainty of the trial and appellate process,” read a statement from Mayor Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.

The lawsuit was originally filed by the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority in 2017. The lawsuit sought more than $1 billion. It claimed the team’s move cost the St. Louis region millions of dollars in amusement, ticket and earnings tax revenue.

Essentially, Kroenke knowingly put the city of St. Louis in a rough spot financially and the city sued the NFL for allowing him to abruptly relocate the Rams to Los Angeles.

Now, several years removed from initiating the lawsuit, and a year after reaching a settlement, the St. Louis region has a tentative plan in place to spend the money awarded to them.

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Since $271 million was already spent on lawyer and trial fees, let’s take a look at how the St. Louis region plans to spend the remaining $519 million.

St. Louis, where the Rams played 21 seasons, would get $250 million. St. Louis County, which made annual payments on the Dome and was a plaintiff in the suit against the NFL, would get $169 million. The Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, or RSA, which owns the Dome, would get $70 million. The final $30 million would be invested in the expansion of the downtown convention center.

The convention center expansion plan must be developed by the Board of Aldermen by June 30. If they don't, the money will be given to the RSA, which operates the Dome at America's Center.

The deal still needs to be approved by the full board of the Regional Sports Authority before being made official, but things look promising as of now.

Finalizing the settlement breakdown was aided by Mayor Jones, who arrived at the negotiating table personally along with St. Louis County Executive Sam Page.

Given the sheer number of millions at play, many ideas of how to spend it have been proposed by city officials.

Improving roads and bridges, lowering college tuition for children within the state, and even funding a guaranteed basic income program have all been discussed.

It won't be an overnight process but it is encouraging to see city and county officials, led by Mayor Jones, being intentional about improving the St. Louis region as much as possible with the settlement money.

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