The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $60,000 recycling and litter prevention grant to the Cleveland Indians, a franchise valued by Forbes.com at an estimated $825 million.
In all, the Ohio EPA recently awarded $1.46 million to 32 applicants for litter prevention and recycling initiatives.
Broken down, the grants included 16 going to public solid waste districts, three to counties, four to municipalities, and nine to institutions and organizations.
However, the Cleveland Indians franchise was the only business to receive a litter prevention/recycling grant this year.
As for the propriety of awarding public funds to a private business that already rents a 21-year-old publicly owned building, Ohio EPA officials justify the $60,000 grant by saying the money will go toward the baseball club purchasing equipment for glass recycling, a special need “… because glass is under-recycled” in Ohio, Ohio EPA spokeswoman Linda Fee Oros said.
“In the case of the Cleveland Indians, they hold 76 home games per season and the average attendance is 18,000, creating nearly 1.4 million opportunities to reach the public with a recycling message, and giving folks the opportunity to participate in recycling,” Oros said.
Likewise the Indians franchise must chip in a matching dollar amount, Oros says as well.
Even so, that 18,000 per game attendance figure has consistently ranked within Major League Baseball’s bottom three teams during the past three seasons.
Further – says www.venuestoday.com and quoting the Associated Press, total annual attendance to Cleveland Indians’ home games fell to 1.57 million and down from the 3.46 million in 1999.
Yet it’s not as if the Cleveland Indians franchise is a cash-poor operation, by any means. This, in spite of the fact that business-driven Forbes.com ranks the team’s valuation as 25th in baseball’s 30-team major league system.
Forbes.com says the Cleveland Indians baseball team has an annual revenue stream of around $207 million with annual gate receipts alone valued at $30 million.
Still, the Cleveland Indians is a business and the litter prevention/recycling grant program is paid for through a special tax on certain businesses, Oros also says.
Thus, the Ohio EPA program has always recognized businesses as being co-equals when it comes to applying for and receiving litter prevention/recycling grants, Oros says.
“Business has historically contributed a great deal to the recycling grant programs through a two-tier franchise tax imposed on items within their waste stream,” Oros says.
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff Frischkorn Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state