YORK COUNTY, S.C. — It’s been almost one month since construction was paused on a multi-million-dollar practice facility for the Carolina Panthers in York County.
Tepper Sports & Entertainment stated on March 7 the city of Rock Hill failed to provide money for the project.
Since then, city and county leaders have come up with a new financial plan to save the project but have yet to hear from Tepper Sports.
Local and state leaders said they hope to hear from the Panthers soon.
“We haven’t met about it,” said Rock Hill City Councilmember Perry Sutton, Ward 5, “From what I understand, the ball is now in the Panthers’ court, and we’ll wait on them to make a shot.”
Newly elected Sutton and other city leaders decided last week to allow the city to negotiate a new financial plan to continue the project.
The plan is backed by the county but so far, the city and county have not heard from the Panthers, which has some leaders and local business owners on edge.
“There are lots of moving parts that really concern me and lots of the people in Rock Hill,” said Aaron Parks, owner of Parks Insurance Agency.
Parks said his business would benefit from the new practice facility.
“It’s all about numbers and population,” Parks said. “The more people you can have, the more your business is going to flourish. The more people use your services.”
South Carolina Sen. Wes Climer, R-York, told our partners at the Charlotte Business Journal, “David Tepper came to Rock Hill promising us Jerry Jones and ever since then, he’s given us Dan Snyder.”
Climer continued to push for information from the Panthers.
“It’s time for Tepper to step up and give us answers,” he said Wednesday. “It’s time for him to honor his word.”
Sutton said he’s still hopeful the Panthers project will move forward.
“Is it a concern of mine? Yes. Is it my No. 1 concern? No,” he said. “In my heart of hearts, I believe it will get taken care of.”
Climer said Tepper put the brakes on construction less than 24 hours before Tepper was to meet with South Carolina’s secretary of commerce to talk about the project.
He also said Tepper Sports & Entertainment took part in York County’s recent discussions about a new financing plan and agreed to that plan.
Tepper Sports & Entertainment said it paused the project because the city of Rock Hill failed to obtain bonds to pay for the public infrastructure.
However, Climer said that is not true.
Rock Hill leaders said they were prepared to issue bonds, but that the Panthers told them not to.
Late Wednesday, a spokesperson for Tepper Sports & Entertainment said the company has no comment.
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