BY GEOFF HOBSON
After securing management of Paul Brown Stadium today, the Bengals vowed to avoid the track record of some other stadiums.
"We can run it better for us and we can run it better for the public," said Bengals President Mike Brown. "We're not going to let it run down as so many public facilities do. It's in the best interest of us and the community that it stay new and shiny for all the time we're there."
The club's agreement with Hamilton County, approved today by the county commissioners, keeps the PBS Limited staff of 15 hired by the Bengals intact. All but three stadium staffers are in the employ of the county, but they are under the Bengals' direction. The club continues to foot part of the bill for stadium operations.
The settlement means the Bengals will dismiss their lawsuit against the county, filed earlier this month when the team felt the county violated the lease when it didn't award them the management bid. In the May 27, 1997 agreement, the county gave the Bengals the right to manage the stadium. But the county later feared that would violate state bidding laws.
"We saw the benefit of having the major tenant running the facility from the beginning," said county commissioner Bob Bedinghaus. "The fact we were able to put that in place is a very good thing."
The Bengals are also delighted because it keeps their seasoned staff together with the Aug. 19 opening less than three months away.
Eric Brown, managing director of PBS Limited, had similar jobs building the football and baseball stadiums in Cleveland and the Procter & Gamble Health Care Research Center in Mason, Ohio. Engineer Sam Kinman has been a foreman or superintendent for the past 22 years, the last seven supervising construction of two P&G buildings. Doug Bradley, the head groundskeeper and a board member of the Kentucky Turfgrass Council, is growing a field in a new stadium for the third time in three years after stints at Georgetown (Kentucky) College and the University of Louisville.
"We're happy we could satisfy the county's needs," said Troy Blackburn, the Bengals' director of stadium operations. "It's the most cost-effective move for the taxpayers as evidenced by our prior original bid, which was lowest."