- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proposed decreasing state funding for War Memorial Stadium by about half.

The proposal would decrease aid for the fiscal year starting July 2018 from nearly $900,000 to about $448,000, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2eVixO5 ).

Hutchinson also recommended a feasibility study to provide an assessment of future uses for the stadium and financial sustainability.

The University of Arkansas’ football team is under contract to play one game at War Memorial each season until 2018, but no deal has been announced beyond that.

Cash revenue is raised by the use of the stadium through rentals and profits from concession sales. That money is used for operations not covered by state general revenue and for major renovations.

Hutchinson said there is no “bigger fan” of the stadium than himself, and looks forward to working with the War Memorial Stadium Commission on a long-term plan to fulfill his goal of moving the stadium to a self-sustaining model. Other than the model, he declined to give details on the proposal.

Sen. Bart Hester of Cave Springs, who tried and failed to call for cutting the stadium’s general revenue budget in the current fiscal year, supports Hutchinson’s proposal because he’d want some of them money to go toward children’s unmet needs.

“How can we provide subsidies for a football stadium when we have needs for kids?” Hester asked, referring to needs relating to foster care and pre-kindergarten.

Lawmakers were slated to discuss Hutchinson’s recommendations Thursday.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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