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Volume 24 No. 157

Facilities Venues

     Fearing the Browns could move if Cleveland Stadium is not
renovated, a group of civic and business leaders "vowed" to
develop a plan by mid-January to keep the team in Cleveland.  The
task force will be formed to "determine the costs of renovating
the stadium vs. building a new one" and  report on ways to pay
for both options.  Cleveland Mayor Michael White has repeatedly
said the team needs a new or improved facility to remain
competitive, and Browns Owner Art Modell said he will give the
city until the end of '95 to develop a plan.  Although no
"funding plan has been decided," options include raising millions
from local corporations, seeking state funds, or raising taxes on
Cuyahoga County residents.  An estimated cost of renovating is
$130M.  The Browns' lease with the city expires in '98 (Stephen
Phillips, CLEVELAND PLAIN-DEALER, 12/13).

     An official of Anne Arundel County, MD, offered Redskins
Owner Jack Kent Cooke a property tax break of more than $1M a
year on its proposed stadium near Laurel.  County Executive John
Gary said he would "support the tax break" if the team revised
its stadium plans in Laurel, MD, to meet "zoning concerns and
show that the stadium will generate revenue for the county."
Gary would propose assessing property taxes based on the current
value of the land, not on what it would be if the 75,000 facility
is constructed, allowing the team to pay for road construction
and other improvements (Justin Blum, WASHINGTON POST, 12/14).

     When Orlando makes its presentation to MLB's expansion
committee on Wednesday in Chicago, it will carry with them
funding for a $150M outdoor facility.  The Orange County
Commission voted 6-1 in favor of adding one cent to the resort
tax on February 1.  They then voted 7-0 to commit $8.1M of that
money each year to building a $150M -- 45,000 seat stadium (Mark
Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/14).  Commission Chair Linda
Chapin: "We're going to Chicago with a great, great package to
sell Orlando to Major League Baseball, and we're going to bring
home a team" (Bill Fay, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/14).  Construction of
the stadium is contingent on being awarded a team.  If an interim
facility is needed, Orlando officials plan to renovate the Citrus
Bowl (Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/14).

     PA Gov.-elect Tom Ridge (R) and Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy
said Monday they are willing to talk about financing a new park
for the Pirates as soon as MLB approves a new team owner.
Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas, the city's "preferred
buyer" said he expected to receive MLB's preliminary approval
this week and is "optimistic" he can have a sales agreement with
the Pirates' current owners by January 29.  The city has until
that date to find a buyer willing to keep the Pirates in
Pittsburgh and to assume more than $100M in debts and
obligations.  Both Murphy and Ridge agreed that building a
traditional-style ballpark "was necessary to turn around the
money-losing franchise."  Murphy envisions an entertainment
complex aimed at tourists, but Ridge said not to expect the state
to pay for the whole project (Steve Halvonik, PITTSBURGH POST-
GAZETTE, 12/13).