SBD/24/Facilities Venues

D'BACKS NEW PARK AHEAD OF SCHEDULE; COLANGELO GETS PROOFED

          In Phoenix, D'Backs officials say that Bank One
     Ballpark "is on schedule," and they "are confident" that the
     retractable roof and "grow-in-the-dark grass" will be ready
     for the first exhibition game on March 29, according to Bill
     Muller of the AZ REPUBLIC.  The $354M stadium "is scheduled
     to be finished with at least three weeks to spare."  The
     roof and grass "present significant hurdles," as both are
     the "first of their kind."  D'Backs officials "are being
     closemouthed" about when the roof will be tested, as they
     "want to avoid" a "media circus" (AZ REPUBLIC, 11/23).
          TAXING THOUGHTS: D'Backs CEO Jerry Colangelo "has
     decided to install bulletproof glass" in the windows of his
     Bank One Ballpark office, according to Eric Miller of the
     ARIZONA REPUBLIC.  Miller called this, and other security
     measures, "grim echoes of a 3-year old political decision"
     to approve a quarter-cent sales tax to build the ballpark.
     The tax will sunset November 30, six months to a year ahead
     of schedule, and "will end up harvesting more than its
     allotted" $238M, with extra revenue being used for stadium
     repairs or renovations.  The 2 1/2-year tax, which cost the
     average taxpayer "an estimated $25 a year," helped "cause
     the defeat of two politicians and propel another into a race
     for governor, and it has been blamed for the shooting" of a
     county supervisor.  AZ State Univ. Professor Dorothy Evans
     said that at "the heart is anger" over the decision to enact
     the tax without a public vote.  Colangelo, on installing
     bulletproof glass: "We live in a day and age where you have
     to take a lot of precautions" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/23).

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