By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"It's still a contract in the negotiation phase," Dyer says of the master agreement. "There are some issues and a lot of parties involved. Managing Fair Park is probably the most multifaceted management problem in the city because of all the establishments in Fair Park. They [the Cotton Dome Foundation] will have to work with the institutions and their special events. There's a lot of ground to cover."
Jordan and Berger insist that once the agreement is completed, several major corporations will make substantial donations--who and how, they're not saying. Berger also says the debt service should be cut significantly by the sale of naming rights alone, which are going for between $1 to $2 million a year these days on 20-year contracts. Plus, Berger adds, it will be easier to sell the luxury suites and club seat licenses once construction begins.
If the Cotton Dome receives any money from the city, it's likely to come from leftover 1995 bond money that was supposed to go toward minor repairs to restrooms and concession stands, though Jordan hasn't asked for any city help--and the city hasn't offered. Kirk is too busy pushing his Trinity River plan to bother with the Cotton Bowl, and before that, he was too busy trying to get voters to pay for Ross Perot Jr. and Tom Hicks' new cash machine near downtown. (Kirk didn't return calls from the Dallas Observer.)
So Jordan is on his own, left to depend upon the kindness of strangers to build his shrine to civic responsibility. He is undaunted by the task before him, confident that construction will begin on the new Cotton Dome by the end of the year...or the beginning of next year...or...we'll see.
As he ambles up the steps of the Cotton Bowl, back toward an empty Fair Park filled only with the sounds of the occasional inline skater rolling across concrete, he is asked if he had been elected mayor whether he would have called on voters to pay for the Cotton Dome rather than a new arena for the basketball and hockey teams. He pauses and smiles.
"I don't think they're exclusive," he begins. "You've got professional teams that need to make more money. The city owns this already. It's not in the condition it needs to be to be a competitive stadium."
Sure, but it just seems more viable to rebuild a city landmark that will bring new money into the city than it does to build a new arena that will profit Hicks and Perot.
"I can't get into that," he says, still smiling, almost grinning. "It wouldn't make any sense for us to get into a dispute with the city over its choice of priorities. I say this is a priority that we'll stay hitched to, and let others talk about the arena and the way it's going to be financed and all that. We're not being critical. We're just saying we want to stay focused on our deal, and we hope the city will give it the attention it deserves, and I have every confidence it will.