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New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Roberts and Assistant State Senate Minority Leader Richard J. Codey have called for public hearings on NJ Sports and Exposition Authority's tentative agreement to "sweeten" the Devils' lease at Bryne Arena. Both men complain lawmakers and taxpayers have been shut out of the whole process (Stephen Hirsch, Bergen RECORD, 8/10)....WI Gov. Tommy Thompson said the Brewers and his administration were "very close" to agreeing on a financial package for a new stadium, according to Craig Gilbert in this morning's MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The two sides still reportedly have "a number of issues -- from money to control" to work out. Craig reports there is talk of a September special session for the State Legislature before it commences September 19. State officials also disclosed they have retained a financial adviser to examine the team's financial records. The consulting firm Public Financial Management has "looked at the Brewers' records on the state's behalf" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/10).
"It's a done deal; it is flat done," declared Lightning Governor David LeFevre about the deal to have a downtown arena built in Tampa, according to Tom McEwen in the TAMPA TRIBUNE. McEwen writes the arena that is already under construction "will see a shift into overdrive with three crews working near round- the-clock" to have the facility ready for an October '96 opening. He also notes an extensive marketing push expected to lease the 27 remaining luxury suites and start a club-seat licensing program (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 8/10). Jeff Testerman writes the Lightning ownership group building the arena, Tampa Bay Arena Limited Partners, will deed the facility to the Tampa Sports Authority upon completion. The Arena Partners will then lease the facility rent-free. Arena officials will keep all revenues, but pay all operating and maintenance costs. The group is also subject to "severe" penalties if it seeks to relocate the team any time during their 30-year lease (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/10).
The Bears have added Aurora, a Chicago suburb, "to the list of potential sites for a new football stadium," according to Mike Mulligan of the CHICAGO SUN TIMES. The team as secured an option to buy a 207-acre property "in the far northeast side of Aurora, along the Interstate 88 Research and Development Corridor." The parcel is roughly 25 miles west of Chicago. Bears President Mike McCaskey hopes to have four sites to take to the state legislature "in hopes of determining a final site by January" so construction can be completed for the 2000 season. The Chicago site will be proposed by the city (CHICAGO SUN TIMES, 8/10). The Bears already have an option on lands in Hoffman Estates, about 20 miles northwest of the city. McCaskey: "The city (of Chicago) will have to make its decision about what its favorite site is, and as I understand it, they are looking at two or three sites. We favor whatever site is most doable and can be committed to by the end of 1995." Funding questions "remain a major stumbling block in the team's stadium plans," legislators said it is "unlikely" the IL General Assembly would give the Bears $185M in state bonds to help pay for the $285M stadium" (Peter Baniak, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/10).