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Twins President Jerry Bell, the team's point man for researching the feasibility of a baseball-only facility, met with stadium architects HOK of Kansas City, according to the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Bell said HOK discussed the possibility of building a retractable-roof stadium in MN. HOK has also proposed putting such a stadium in Milwaukee for $227M. Bell, former Exec Dir of the Metrodome, said such a stadium in MN could cost about $300M and said a new ballpark is "no closer" than 5-10 years down the road (Souhan & Weiner, STAR TRIBUNE, 4/27). A STAR TRIBUNE/WCCO asked 805 residents statewide, April 17-22, whether they would be more or less likely to attend a Twins game if they played in an outdoor stadium. Forty-two percent said they would be more likely; 25% were less likely; and 30% said it would make no difference (STAR TRIBUNE, 4/27).
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino yesterday backed a hike in the city's hotel tax to help pay for a new convention center complex -- but not with a stadium -- according to Phil Primack of the BOSTON HERALD. Menino, who had supported an increased hotel tax if levied statewide, opposes helping fund a full megaplex (BOSTON HERALD, 4/28).
Lightning Governor David LeFevre said construction of the new downtown Tampa arena may not be ready by the October '96 goal, according to today's ST. PETE TIMES. Construction of the 21,000-seat arena began months ago, but the team needs another extension to prepare a financing plan. In the meantime, the Lightning has opened talks with St. Pete officials about extending their ThunderDome lease (Richard Danielson, ST. PETE TIMES, 4/28). The Tampa Sports Authority and the City Council extended Sunday's deadline to get $60M in financing until June 30 (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/28). RAYS LEASE: The St. Pete City Council reluctantly approved a 30-year lease for the Devil Rays at the Thunderdome. Under the lease, the city must raise $50M for renovations while handing over management of Dome events to the Rays. The city also will be responsible for insurance, traffic control and a portion of the maintenance costs. In return, the city receives $.50 for every ticket sold for any event. While council members acknowledged "the lease is no winner, they said the city got what it wanted -- a team." (Noam Neusner, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/28). The Rays take over Dome management in January '98 (ST. PETE TIMES, 4/28).
Nearly 60% of Cincinnati residents "oppose construction of a new downtown stadium for the Reds or Bengals," according to a poll in the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The poll also found that "only" 19% of voting-age city residents support a tax increase to pay for the new facility. The survey of 750 adults was conducted by Louis Harris and Associates and had a margin of error of +/- 3.6%. Among the 37% who support a new facility, 17% support two stadiums -- one each for the Bengals and Reds, 48% prefer one shared structure, and 32% favor one new stadium and a renovated Riverfront (Richard Green, CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/27).