SBD/7/Facilities Venues

ROCKETS ENCOURAGED TO LIFT-OFF INTO NEW ARENA

          Houston Mayor Lee Brown and Harris County Judge Robert
     Eckels met with Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander yesterday,
     "then said separately the sports authority should heat up
     negotiations on a new arena," according to John Williams of
     the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Both Brown and Eckels said the Harris
     County-Houston Sports Authority "should begin negotiating a
     deal with the Rockets."  Brown said he will spend the "next
     few days" speaking with people in the community to determine
     if winning an August referendum is feasible.  Brown: "My
     sense is that the people of Houston love the Rockets just as
     I love the Rockets, and they want the Rockets to be
     competitive with a new arena."  Sports Authority Co-Chair
     Billy Burge said that an August vote would be a "tight
     squeeze" and that the next date would be in November, which
     "would be a bad time if the Houston Independent School
     District conducts a bond issue."  Burge said the "next best
     time might be in January" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/7).

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