Hillsborough County commissioners have voted in favor of using $6.25 million in taxpayer money to help bring Bass Pro Shops to Brandon.
The money will be used for road development to help traffic flow to the new 140,000 square foot store, which would be Florida's ninth.
Commissioners voted 6 to 1 in favor of paying to improve road conditions in the areas surrounding the future store site, specifically along Falkenburg Road and Palm River Road.
"I have a very clear conscience in supporting this project because this is about economic development at its best," Commissioner Sandy Murman said during Wednesday's meeting.
The vote certainly came with some pushback, however. Hillsborough County small business owner Tom Mahoney says the deal gives the megastore an unfair advantage.
"This does set a bad precedent for the rest of the mega-corporations that want to come in. 'Hey, you gave Bass Pro money, why not give us some?" Mahoney said following the commissioner's decision.
Bass Pro says the store would bring visitors from out of the county and even out of state. In terms of jobs, the project could get close to 2,000, considering construction and store employment.
The proposed spot for the store is off Interstate 75 near the Brandon Mall and movie theatre, an area with heavy traffic congestion. The roads would be widened to accommodate it.
Bass Pro was going to pay for it itself, but a new law allowed it to ask for money. The only commissioner to vote against it was Kevin Beckner.
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