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Panthers, city of Rock Hill going back and forth about practice facility, headquarters infrastructure bonds

Published: May. 18, 2021 at 7:36 PM EDT
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) -A back and forth between the Carolina Panthers and the city of Rock Hill over bond money the city agreed to give in order to help fund the team’s new headquarters and practice facility

Here is how it breaks down.

The city of Rock Hill agreed to give the Panthers a total of $225 million in bonds.

That agreement states the city can give the bonds in portions.

So, the city wants to give $135 million now and the remaining $90 million once vertical infrastructure, like apartments, begins construction. However, the Panthers say they want all $225 million now.

It is hard to say if this puts the project in jeopardy.

In a letter from Panthers officials to York County leaders, the Panthers say there is a high-risk certain infrastructure objective that will not be met if the bond money does not come through.

However, the letter also details options of how the team, city of Rock Hill and York County can work it all out and the Panthers have not issued a default notice.

As the Panthers practice for another season, construction on the Rock Hill team headquarters and practice facility carries on.

But, the Panther’s chief operating officer is asking for assistance in getting this project done.

A letter to the York County manager states the project’s funding remains at a crossroads that the $225 million in bonds is not issued yet, but Rock Hill city leaders claim the Panthers are trying to change the playbook.

In a statement, a city spokesperson says the Panthers want to tweak the agreement to get all $225 million now instead of in portions as outlined in the original agreement.

The city says they are unwilling to move in that direction.

Although, the city acknowledges the time to get the bonds, February, has passed and they did not give the bonds.

”It’s really disheartening and obviously concerning now,” says County Councilman Bump Roddey.

Roddey has called himself a champion of this project. While the city has not approached the county for help, Roddey says he will take the same spirit of collaboration.

”If we’re asked to do anything to help resolve this it certainly has my attention and it will get my full consideration of what we can and what we can’t do,” Roddey said.

When I asked about the city’s claims that the Panthers were trying to amend the agreement, Roddey says that is between the two sides.

”It’s not really our business to get in their business but if it is we would want to try to see the entire agreement between the city and the Carolina Panthers,” he said.

WBTV reached out to the county council chairwoman who says she has reached out to the city, but has not received a response.

She says any changes to the agreement would require another round of ordinance revisions and public hearings.

Roddey says the county will not intervene unless the city specifically asks even though a statement from the city says it would not be opposed to them stepping in.

WBTV reached out to the Carolina Panthers for comment but did not hear back.

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