When the Texas Rangers and the city announced their partnership nearly a year ago to build a $1 billion, retractable-roof baseball stadium, the Rangers said the deal would ensure that the team remains in Arlington at least through the 2053 season.
But that relationship was more or less a “formal handshake,” as one official put it. Now they’re putting a ring on it.
The City Council on Tuesday approved a document that would legally commit the Rangers to a 30-plus-year marriage to Arlington.
It’s the first in a series of agreements and contracts to be finalized as the project prepares to break ground this summer, kicking off a tight construction schedule to get the stadium ready by Opening Day in April 2020.
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The council took another of those actions at Tuesday’s meeting, approving the abandonment of a section of Nolan Ryan Expressway, between Randol Mill Road and Cowboys Way, to make room for construction of the stadium next to Globe Life Park.
The Rangers will be advancing funds to start construction, and the city will begin selling bonds late this year or early next year, City Manager Trey Yelverton said.
Also, the Rangers are firming up the parking situation. Yelverton said more than 3,000 parking spaces have been added, both through new construction and restriping of existing lots, and that those will roughly offset the number of parking spaces that will be lost to the stadium site.