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Despite objections from Republican legislators, MD's Democratically-controlled Board of Public Works yesterday gave "swift and unanimous" approval to a deal to build a $200M, 70,000-seat stadium for the Browns, according to the Baltimore SUN. John Frece writes, if NFL owners approve the team move in January, groundbreaking could be as early as March. For their part, Republican lawmakers are concerned about the level of revenue needed from the lottery. The preliminary financing plan for the stadium calls for $20M in lottery revenue for FY '96, $32M in '97, and $35M each in '98 and '99. But in the eight years lottery revenue has been used to finance Oriole Park, revenues have averaged just under $21M and have never exceeded $26.7M. One delegate predicts the project could run almost $42M in the red (Baltimore SUN, 11/16). The WASHINGTON POST reports MD Gov. Parris Glendening may take out newspaper ads to bolster the claim of economic benefits for the state. State Sen. Brian Frosh calls Glendening's claim no tax money will be used "right, but it is misleading." Frosh adds: "It doesn't matter whether its tax dollars or lottery dollars. It's money that could go into other uses, such as school construction" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/16).
The Warriors yesterday got an extension from the Oakland- Alameda County Coliseum Board to decide where they will play next season, according to the S.F. CHRONICLE. The team is in discussions with Coliseum officials to refurbish the facility, and Warriors attorney Robin Baggett said the "discussions are going very well." Details had not been worked out by yesterday (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/16). The Warriors' discussions with San Jose revealed that city is the Bay Area's "largest and wealthiest market for a professional sports franchise." According to SALES AND MARKETING magazine's annual survey of buying power, San Jose ranks 3rd in the U.S. in percentage of households with income of $50,000+ (Mark Simon, S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/16). In Oakland, Bob Salladay writes that any renovations to the Coliseum could slow construction on the stadium, which would cost up to $10,000 per game, or $1M after 30 days if stadium work is not done by April 1 (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 11/16).
A group of Northwest IN business leaders, under the banner of "Northwest Indiana/Chicagoland Entertainment," yesterday announced plans for a 75,000-seat "futuristic" open-air stadium complex in Gary, IN, called Planet Park, according to today's CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Designer Benjamin Wood said the stadium would be a place where "sports can relate with the world of cyberspace," adding that several thousand of the seats would have control panels allowing fans to play interactive games. The group also said the Bears would remain the Chicago Bears. In addition to a stadium, Planet Park would also feature a family resort, hotel, recreational vehicle park, amusement park and nine-hole golf course. There would also be a Bears Hall of Fame, a "Planetary Garden," a multi-screen movie theatre and parking for more than 25,000 cars with a special area for tailgating (Michelle Campbell, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/16). The plan calls for a 60-40 public-private financing split, with public money from a .5% Lake County income tax and PSLs and stadium-related revenue the source of private funds (Christian & Kass, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/16). REACTION: Bears VP of Operations Ted Philips: "Contrary to prior reports, we have not agreed to any deal. We are still looking at the Soldier Field proposal and the northwest Indiana proposal. There is a lot of work to be done." The Bears are scheduled to meet with Chicago officials next week regarding the proposed renovation of Soldier Field (Mike Mulligan, CHICAGO SUN- TIMES, 11/16). YER UP, YER HONOR: Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he counts "25 ifs" in the Gary proposal, while his Chicago renovation proposal is a sure thing. Daley: "We have an engineering and construction date that can start Jan. 1. We have a financial package. We have no ifs involved in any of those things" (Fran Spielman, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/16). FROM INDIANA: Cam Simpson writes in the INDIANAPOLIS STAR that at a closed-door luncheon yesterday hosted by NIPSCO, Lake County Council members were not "giving signals either way" about the proposed income tax. Council Member Fran DuPrey: "I think we are going to be very cautious, I'm waiting to get more facts" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/16).
FL legislators "have a message for Tampa area politicians who want to impose new taxes for a football stadium: Don't waste our time," write Joe Henderson and Ken Koehn in the TAMPA TRIBUNE. State Sen. Malcolm Beard: "I don't understand how those elected officials down there can't get it through their thick heads that the voters in Hillsborough County aren't in the mood for more taxes." State Rep. Rob Wallace said a local referendum is now the only way to go if new taxes are going to be needed to keep the Bucs (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/16). In St. Pete, Jeff Testerman writes a recent idea of borrowing money against the local bed tax "is too risky," because taking funds from Tampa's convention bureau could end up putting it out of business and cut into the city's $150M per year convention bookings (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/16).