SBD/8/Facilities Venues

ASTROS BALLPARK CLEARS ANOTHER HURDLE, WITH MINOR CHANGES

          After "arguing for months" over an agreement to build a
     new stadium for the Astros, Harris County Commissioners
     Court unanimously approved a new letter of intent with the
     team, according to John Williams in the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. 
     A "key change" allows the court to review the agreement
     after the State Legislature session this year.  The "court
     could then make future changes or even cancel the stadium
     plans if the Legislature fails to approve adequate funding
     mechanisms to build sports facilities in Houston."  The
     change was made "largely to ensure that all parties
     interested in new sports facilities work together in
     lobbying the Legislature."  If the state does not allow
     enough new taxing mechanisms, "such as a rental car tax and
     others," for both a new baseball and football facility,
     commissioners can reject plans for a downtown stadium for
     the Astros (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/8).



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