FLORIDA GOVERNOR APPROVES SALES TAX FOR TAMPA STADIUM
FL Gov. Lawton Chiles agreed to spend $60M in state sales
tax money to held build a new stadium for the Bucs, according to
Robert Chepak in the TAMPA TRIBUNE. Despite "concerns the team
will leave Florida," the move by Chiles is "crucial to
Hillsborough County's proposal to build a new stadium for the
Bucs." Bucs GM Rich McKay: "It is a vital piece of the puzzle.
This means the process is underway to begin to finance this
stadium." Chepak reports the subsidy is only a portion of the
expected $168M needed to build the stadium and the Tampa Stadium
Authority will now turn to raising private money for the balance.
State Rep. Jim Davis: "Without this bill, I think there are some
serious problems with keeping the Bucs in the Tampa Bay area.
With it, you have more of a fighting chance, but there are no
guarantees" (Robert Chepak, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/15). The bill
specifies that before the team can use the money, it will have to
sign a 20-year lease in Tampa (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 6/15).
FOUR WALK IN, ONE COMES OUT: Architects Lescher & Mahoney
Sports of Tampa and Criswell, Blizzard & Blouin of St. Petersburg
were the groups selected by a six-member committee of St.
Petersburg officials and representatives of the Devil Rays to
plan the estimated $50M improvements to the ThunderDome, reports
Rob Shaw in the TAMPA TRIBUNE. Shaw notes the fact that the
group was local "did not go unnoticed by the panel as Devil Rays
Owner Vince Naimoli said he would rather see a local company get
the contract" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/15). Kansas City's HOK, the firm
that designed the ThunderDome, as well as Baltimore's Camden
Yards and Denver's Coors Field, came in last in the bidding
(David Rogers, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 6/15).