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DOES SUNRISE ARENA PLAN MEAN A NEW DAY FOR HOCKEY IN FLA.?

     Officials from Sunrise, FL, "hope to jumpstart plans for a
hockey or basketball arena with a new proposal that offers $5
million in city incentives to close the financing gap that
threatens the project," according to this morning's MIAMI HERALD.
Sunrise City Manager Pat Salerno said the new plan meets the
September '98 deadline set by Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga to be
playing in a new arena.  Salerno said by a combination of public
and team money backing bonds, the financing gap -- estimated at
as high as $40M -- could be brought down to $5M, which the city
could cover.  While the bonds would be backed by a 2% bed tax, a
$2M/year sales tax rebate and a $1 ticket surcharge, the city
would want the team to cover the first $300,000 a year on any
shortfall from low attendance.  That "could be the potential
sticking point," since the team has not said whether they are
willing to back the bonds (Rafinski & Prater, MIAMI HERALD,
12/13).
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