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Bonds for Coliseum expo expansion advance

Allen County Council members gave preliminary approval Thursday to a 20-year bonding project for the Memorial Coliseum’s proposed expo hall expansion, set for next year.

Current state law designates the Coliseum as part of a Professional Sports, Convention and Development Area, which stipulates bonding can only be extended through 2027.

In order to move forward, the Coliseum will have to get approval from the state budgeting agency and then return to the council for final approval, county attorney Bill Fishering said.

Under the law, sales and income taxes generated by the Coliseum and other nearby facilities are set aside for projects.

Although there “is a very minor risk,” Fishering said Coliseum officials do not expect a shortage in funding or the expansion to affect property or county economic development incomes tax funds, Fishering said.

The facility currently receives about $2.6 million annually from the convention and development area, he said.

“The Coliseum generates that in about eight months, but if we were to incur a shortage, we would have to look at property taxes,” he said.

The $16 million expansion calls for 20 annual payments of approximately $1.3 million each beginning in 2015 and ending in 2035.

For more on this story, see Friday’s print edition or visit after 3 a.m. Friday.