SBD/25/Facilities Venues

MN SENATOR CALLS FOR PRIVATE FUNDING OF WILD'S ARENA

          MN State Sen. John Marty, "who last year galvanized
     public opinion against a state-subsidized Twins stadium,"
     called on St. Paul officials Tuesday "to delay the imminent
     demolition of the RiverCentre arena until a private
     financing plan to 'take taxpayers off the hook' is in place
     for a new NHL arena," according to Whereatt & Weiner of the
     Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  Marty: "As each day passes, this
     hockey deal sounds worse and worse."  A spokesperson for St.
     Paul Mayor Norm Coleman said that demolition will go ahead
     as scheduled.  Wild VP/ Communications Bill Robertson:
     "We're too far along in the process to stop now."  Asked
     whether the team's investors would consider funding the
     arena of their own, Robertson said, "No.  We've already
     entered into an agreement with the city and the NHL."  A
     House-Senate conference committee seeking to resolve
     differences in capital-improvement bills will examine the
     Wild's financial arrangements today.  Meanwhile, NHL
     Commissioner Gary Bettman, in St. Paul yesterday, said the
     arena is "right on course," and called the proposed state-
     city-team arena-financing plan "a best-case public-private
     partnership" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/25).  
          MARTY CRASHER: Marty: "Even if satisfactory answers are
     forthcoming to the questions about conflicts of interest and
     secret dealings, they cannot hide the fact that this subsidy
     is a bad deal for taxpayers."  Bettman: "I don't see a
     problem because we have here strong local ownership in Bob
     Naegele" (PIONEER PRESS, 3/25).  In an op-ed in the STAR
     TRIBUNE, Marty wrote, "Wealthy investors in professional
     sports teams need to take responsibility for their own
     financial needs.  If they fail to do so, why should
     Minnesota taxpayers foot the bill?" (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/25).

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