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WUSF News Staff
Wed February 20, 2013
Hillsborough County Commissioners Okay $6.25 Million in Roads for Bass Pro Shop
The Hillsborough County Commission approved a cost-sharing agreement for road improvements along Falkenburg Road in Brandon for a new Bass Pro Shop.
The deal is just more than $6 million. Backers of the project expect tax revenues to make up for the cost in 5 years after the shop opens in 2014.
The money won't be going to Bass Pro. Instead, the money goes to the developer - I-75/Palm River Road LLC. They'll be the ones doing the road adjustments.
Commissioner Mark Sharpe voted in favor and stands behind his vote.
"I thought I'll be damned if I'm going to vote no when I think we ought to do it," he said, "It's a $6 million investment."
The measure was approved 6-1 with Commissioner Kevin Beckner saying nay. "Absolutely, I am voting in support for Bass Pro coming here I'm just not voting to support building their business on the backs of taxpayers," he said.
Beckner's response was followed by applause and a rebuttal from Commissioner Ken Hagan.
"If we were giving Bass incentives, up front monies or subsidies- Commissioner Beckner would be 100 percent correct, but we're not doing that," he said. "We're investing in infrastructure."
Bass Pro ranked 99 on Forbe's List of America's largest private companies in 2011.