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The Public Authorities Control Board, made up of NY state leaders, yesterday approved a $25M loan for the new Crossroads Arena in Buffalo, ending weeks of "backroom wrangling" over stadium projects throughout the state (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/24). The vote had been twice postponed because Republicans and Democrats "could not agree" on a $488,150 grant to refurbish a hockey arena in Binghamton. NY Gov. George Pataki accused Democrats of holding the Binghamton arena "hostage" in order to win funding for a new baseball stadium in Syracuse. Until Wednesday, Republicans "refused to allow" the Crossroads loan to go ahead without approval for Binghamton (Jon Sorensen, BUFFALO NEWS, 3/23).
Aides to FL Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga received "cautious support" for its arena proposal yesterday from the Broward County Tourist Development Council. Council members were "particularly sensitive" over Huizenga's proposed "bed tax," a county-wide tax on hotel and motel guests. Revenue from that tax would be a "crucial source" of funds for the project. Some board members said they would recommend an increase in that tax "under one condition only": If an arena is built close enough to the ocean that many hotels would benefit. The price for a new arena is estimated at $150-165M (Eric Conrad, Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 3/24).
The Mariners unveiled their plans for a new ballpark yesterday, and although the plan lacks the $250M needed "to make it a reality," it does have "growing support." According to Mariners CEO John Ellis, the stadium plan has backing from King County officials, the Chamber of Commerce, the Governor's office, U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and the Sports Council of Seattle/King Counties -- and a new lobbying effort by a group called, Friends of Baseball. If the new park is approved, the Mariners "have agreed" to help find up to 35% private financing for construction, to sign a long-term lease and to share profits of the facility with the public (Angelo Bruscas, SEATTLE POST- INTELLIGENCER, 3/24).