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Fort Worth, Host Committee agree on $2.26 million Super Bowl budget

From Sundance Square to the Stockyards, from the Cultural District to the burgeoning entertainment venues on West Seventh, the stage is now set in Fort Worth for Super Bowl XLV.

The city and the North Texas Host Committee have finalized a budget agreement that will reimburse the city about $2.26 million for public safety and transportation costs incurred for the game, scheduled for Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium.

That is approximately half the original estimate of $4.5 million approved by the City Council in September.

The reimbursement will come from the Texas comptroller's Major Event Trust Fund, which has allocated $31.2 million to the Host Committee based on tourism taxes expected to be paid by as many as 150,000 out-of-state visitors to North Texas.

A portion of the trust fund allocation will cover event-related public safety and transportation costs in Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving and Dallas.

The comptroller will issue the reimbursements once the cities and the Host Committee submit invoices after the Super Bowl.

On Tuesday, the Fort Worth City Council approved the agreement.

The agreement was reached after months of negotiating between city officials and the Host Committee, which is responsible for carrying out the promises made in the region's Super Bowl bid.

In September, Fort Worth officials called the $4.5 million figure a "placeholder" and said they expected the final budget to be less.

The comptroller has projected that Fort Worth will generate $1.34 million in sales tax revenue during Super Bowl week, an estimate made before ESPN chose to make Sundance Square is broadcast home for Super Bowl coverage.

Street, venues to get face lift

Susan Alanis, Fort Worth's assistant city manager overseeing public events, said the revised budget mostly reflects improvements to streets and venues not necessarily directly related to the Super Bowl.

One example is replacing damaged bricks on Main Street. Alanis said the project had been planned to cover two to three years, but now is being done all at once, which "is more cost-effective anyway," she said.

Another major upgrade is to the kitchen facilities in the Fort Worth Convention Center, site of the Taste of the NFL food-tasting charity event scheduled for Feb. 5. Those improvements will be made but will be covered under "public events" in the operating budget.

Re-striping of some streets, including West Seventh Street, is going forward as well. The reasons for the project are beautification and to make navigation easier for motorists.

All the downtown street construction, Alanis said, is not directly related to the Super Bowl. All the projects are in the budget but, Alanis said, "We have prioritized knowing a major event is coming."

The construction on the Ninth Street side of the Convention Center is a federally funded project that wasn't planned for the Super Bowl.

"The stars aligned," Alanis said.

The Super Bowl budget reflects a reduction in the city's public safety costs for ESPN's presence downtown.

Because Sundance Square is a private entity, it is negotiating with ESPN to cover additional costs. Tracy Gilmour, spokeswoman for Sundance Square, said the network, which also has its own security personnel, will pick up the tab.

Tom Higgins, deputy city manager, said public safety will not be compromised.

"ESPN is open to the public, and we have an obligation to provide safety to our citizens and the same level of security that they expect," he said. "ESPN saw Sundance Square as an ideal location for spontaneous visits, and we want and expect increased activity. But it is hard to quantify what that means" in additional costs.

A busy downtown

Downtown Fort Worth is expected to be bustling with activity during Super Bowl week. The ESPN broadcast day will begin with the Mike & Mike radio/TV broadcast at 5 a.m. and conclude with SportsCenter at 10 p.m.

The network will have 80 hours of live radio and TV broadcasts from Sundance Square, putting the "Cowboys and Culture" theme of Fort Worth on display for the world to see.

ESPN's main stage will be in the Chisholm Trail parking lot between Houston and Main streets. Those streets will be closed to traffic between Third and Fifth, transforming the area into a pedestrian mall.

Visitors and North Texas residents are expected to gather downtown to catch a glimpse of their favorite ESPN personalities, as well as celebrity guests who will appear on TV and radio broadcasts.

And it should be Christmas morning all over again for autograph seekers.

One of the more popular "hangouts" will be in front of the Omni Hotel on Houston Street, which is the home of the American Conference champions. Some areas of the hotel will be restricted, and barricades will be in placed in front, but fans can still see the players when they emerge to board team buses headed to TCU's practice facilities.

City officials also expect heavy traffic in the Stockyards and in the museum district, where some private and public events may be scheduled.

The city has also been reassured that it will be reimbursed for additional costs related to a major incident or weather event that cannot be anticipated.

FORT WORTH SUPER BOWL EVENT PLAN

Police: $1,676,776

-- Administration/finance, Omni (Hotel) Branch, mounted patrol, documentation unit, traffic branch, mobile field force, communications, intel, emergency operations center, downtown traffic control, bike patrol, hospitality, emergency command, public information office, vice, SWAT, joint operations command, credentialing, counterfeit investigations, neighborhood policing officers, relief personnel, community events, air support, K-9.

Transportation & Public Works: $226,000

-- Street sweeping, message boards, barricades for Omni and Houston Street locations, overtime, sanding/snow removal.

Fire Department: $139,810

-- Fire operations, bomb squad OT, Omni Hotel.

Parks & Community Services: $62,190

-- Maintenance and cleanup, transportation for public safety officials, emergency operations overtime)

The T: $31,680

-- Regional transportation.

Contingency: $124,213

(TCU Branch (police), executive protection (police), MedStar)

TOTAL: $2,260,669

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