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Volume 24 No. 112

Facilities Venues

     The Public Authorities Control Board, made up of NY state
leaders, yesterday approved a $25M loan for the new Crossroads
Arena in Buffalo, ending weeks of "backroom wrangling" over
stadium projects throughout the state (BUFFALO NEWS, 3/24).  The
vote had been twice postponed because Republicans and Democrats
"could not agree" on a $488,150 grant to refurbish a hockey arena
in Binghamton.  NY Gov. George Pataki accused Democrats of
holding the Binghamton arena "hostage" in order to win funding
for a new baseball stadium in Syracuse.  Until Wednesday,
Republicans "refused to allow" the Crossroads loan to go ahead
without approval for Binghamton (Jon Sorensen, BUFFALO NEWS,
3/23).

     Aides to FL Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga received "cautious
support" for its arena proposal yesterday from the Broward County
Tourist Development Council.  Council members were "particularly
sensitive" over Huizenga's proposed "bed tax," a county-wide tax
on hotel and motel guests.  Revenue from that tax would be a
"crucial source" of funds for the project.  Some board members
said they would recommend an increase in that tax "under one
condition only":  If an arena is built close enough to the ocean
that many hotels would benefit.  The price for a new arena is
estimated at $150-165M (Eric Conrad, Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL,
3/24).

     The Mariners unveiled their plans for a new ballpark
yesterday, and although the plan lacks the $250M needed "to make
it a reality," it does have "growing support."  According to
Mariners CEO John Ellis, the stadium plan has backing from King
County officials, the Chamber of Commerce, the Governor's office,
U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and the Sports Council of Seattle/King
Counties -- and a new lobbying effort by a group called, Friends
of Baseball.  If the new park is approved, the Mariners "have
agreed" to help find up to 35% private financing for
construction, to sign a long-term lease and to share profits of
the facility with the public (Angelo Bruscas, SEATTLE POST-
INTELLIGENCER, 3/24).