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Volume 24 No. 116

Facilities Venues

     D.C. council members met with city officials to discuss the
city's financial obligation toward the proposed $180M arena
Bullets/Capitals owner Abe Pollin wants to build in downtown
Washington.  After initial reports put the city's portion of the
cost at $12.5M, the Council was told yesterday that up to $65M
could be needed.  The increase is due to the fact that DC "did
not take into account" all of the expenses they agreed to cover.
According to Robert Pohlman, the city's interim chief executive
financial officer, the majority of the DC funding, $25M, will go
towards the purchase of the arena site and surrounding land for
development.  About $19M will go towards relocating city workers
that presently work in offices that will be demolished (Jeanne

     WI Governor Tommy Thompson's top aide says a "myriad of
questions and complications remain" in the search for a way to
pay for a new $223M stadium for the Brewers.  These statements
come on the eve of today's final meeting of the Milwaukee Stadium
Commission, where a recommendation for a plan is expected to be
submitted to Thompson.  James Klauser, head of the state
Department of Administration: "I am sure we'll find a way, but we
have a lot of foundation work to do.  Everybody will point the
finger [at the state] and say 'You do it.'  This has got to be a
collaborative effort.  The city and county have to participate as
well."  A report in yesterday afternoon's MILWAUKEE JOURNAL says
the committee "may simply recommend a series of potential sources
of public funds."  It is estimated the state will need $18-$25M a
year for the next 20 years to fund the project.  Among the
possibilities: a sports lottery that would be expected to provide
from five to $15M a year and a regional sales tax for Milwaukee
County and the surrounding counties.  The sales tax option has
"little political support and hostile opposition."  Tuesday night
in Racine County, just south of Milwaukee, the county board voted
24-2 against raising the county sales tax to finance a ballpark
project.  Milwaukee County official William Drew proposed the
regional sales tax idea last week: "I'm still waiting for the
first supporter to call me and say, 'Great idea.'  Raising taxes
is not a very politically popular type of thing to do" (Craig
Gilbert, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL, 1/25).

     The City of Minneapolis and MN Governor Arne Carlson
yesterday asked local business leaders to help finance $12M of
the $54M needed to buy the Target Center and complete the deal to
sell the T-Wolves.  Under the plan, the city will issue $42M in
general obligation bonds, while local business leaders would buy
$12M in additional bonds.  Business leaders would be in a
"secondary position," meaning they would not get returns on their
investments until the city's obligations were paid.  Among the
local business leaders who met with officials Wednesday
afternoon: Dayton-Hudson, Norwest Bank, First Bank, IDS,
Honeywell, U.S. West and Cowles Media.  Carlson and Metropolitan
Sports Facilities Commission Chair Henry Savelkoul say the issue
must be settled by March 1, the date by which Wolves and Target
Center owners Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner must inform the
NBA if they plan on moving the franchise.  Carlson, who called
the arena a "state asset," says he will not need to ask the MN
Legislature for help if business leaders can come through (Weiner
& Diaz, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 1/26).