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In his first public comments on the new Browns stadium "in four months," Cleveland Mayor Michael White "seemed to acknowledge that cost overruns on the publicly financed stadium project appear likely," according to David Adams of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL. White: "Is there a possibility that we have to develop strategies to deal with an overrun? Yes there is. ... Do we know today how large that overrun will be or what the source of the fix will be? No, we don't." After rejecting the lowest bid for the stadium's electrical work late last year, which was $9M more "than expected," White "seemed to indicate that the new round of electrical bids -- starting next month -- may not fare much better" (David Adams, AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 1/22).
The idea of "rebuilding and expanding Fenway Park gathered steam yesterday, with a statewide poll showing overwhelming support for the Red Sox to stay put and the formation of a new grass-roots group determined to preserve" the ballpark, according to Anthony Flint of the BOSTON GLOBE. The team "continued to deny" that it was "giving serious consideration to any such plan." A spokesperson said talk of a redesign was "very premature." In related news, a poll of 400 registered voters by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk Univ. showed that 58% of respondents statewide supported the team staying at Fenway, while "only" 20% favored a new park. Also yesterday, a group of fans, residents and business execs formed Save Fenway Park! and said they planned to issue a report soon on the viability of expanding Fenway (Anthony Flint, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/22).
The MD Stadium Authority (MSA), which is building a $220M stadium for the Ravens next to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, "may not need as much money as it thought," according to Jon Morgan of the Baltimore SUN. The MSA is "consuming" $32M a year in lottery funds, and the "financial plan has always assumed a gradual reduction in the need for lottery money." MSA Exec Dir Bruce Hoffman said that "reduction is now projected to begin in fiscal year 2000 and possibly reach zero as soon as 2013." Morgan writes that projected revenues "are stronger than expected from parking, party rentals at the stadiums, rental of office space in the warehouse adjacent to Oriole Park, and of the baseball museum scheduled to be built at Camden Station" (SUN, 1/22).
Mavs Owner Ross Perot Jr. has gained control of a "key tract of land" near the planned sports arena site, "leaving only a handful of small parcels in the area that could face city condemnation," according to Robert Ingrassia of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Perot's Hillwood Development Corp. signed a contract to buy 8.5 acres north of the arena site, and is "seeking about 7 additional acres for parking west of the arena." In addition, the official election results were released on Wednesday. The arena plan received 62,880 votes, while 61,238 voted against it (MORNING NEWS, 1/22).