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Volume 24 No. 115

Facilities Venues

     Unlike their professional brethren, the Univ. of Houston
plans on extending its lease at the Astrodome.  Houston AD Bill
Carr notes their lease ends after this year, but he expects to
begin discussions soon and hopes to get a multi-year agreement.
The Cougars have played at the Astrodome since 1965 (HOUSTON
CHRONICLE, 8/17)....Univ. of Maryland officials expect the second
phase of renovation on Byrd Stadium to be completed by September
1.  Improvements include a new upper deck on the North side of
the stadium that brings seating capacity to 48,000.  The stadium
will also have new restrooms and concession stands.  The total
cost is $42.2M (Kevin Seifert, WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/17).

     Redskins Owner Jack Kent Cooke continues to battle for fast-
track approval for a new stadium site in Landover, MD.  But he is
hearing opposition from groups who want guarantees that "blacks
get a hefty slice of the economic pie," according to this
morning's WASHINGTON POST.  The site is located in Prince
George's County, which has an African-American majority
population.  Opposition groups say they fear Cooke's push for
quick approval "would circumvent their ability to review the
project."  Cooke attorney Gerard Evans called those protesting
"anti-everything organizations."  Evans:  "Frankly, I would have
been shocked if they did support the stadium" (Terry Neal,
WASHINGTON POST, 8/17).

     Stephen Tocco, MA Gov. William Weld's "point man" on the
megaplex project, said yesterday that the governor's office
"might agree to splitting up the project and building its pieces
at separate locations," writes Richard Kindleberger in this
morning's BOSTON GLOBE.  Tocco said the prospects of separate
baseball and football stadiums along with a stand-alone
convention center "was only an option."  However, Kindleberger
writes that "his remarks appeared to reflect the dimming
prospects for a combined facility."
Tocco said yesterday that the breakup of the megaplex may now
mean that a new stadium for the Patriots would be an open-air
facility.  Kindleberger reports "if the megaplex were broken up,
the state might help the Patriots" build the facility "since a
more-expensive, domed facility would no longer be needed to hold
convention-related events. ... Such help might include providing
a site and highway-transit improvements."  That site could be the
CrossTown site rejected for the megaplex in the city's Roxbury
section, the GLOBE reports.  Tocco suggested that the Patriots
and Red Sox could possibly build adjacent stadiums at the
CrossTown site and share infrastructure costs.  However, Red Sox
Exec VP John Buckley "said the team remains committed to its
chosen South Boston site" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/17).

     The plan for a new Brewers stadium will include "a call for
new taxes in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties," but excludes other
counties in the Milwaukee area, sources tell the MILWAUKEE
JOURNAL SENTINEL.  The plan is expected to propose a one-tenth of
a penny increase in sales taxes in the two counties and
possibility an increase in hotel and motel room taxes.  The
Brewers are expected to contribute: The value of the naming
rights for the facility -- with Miller Brewing mentioned as a
candidate; a down payment of $10M-$15M; and a loan to the team
from the WI Housing and Economic Development Authority.
Milwaukee County would be expected to contribute money for
infrastructure costs, including the land for the facility -- the
current parking lot just beyond centerfield at County Stadium.
The plan will reportedly call for the creation of a stadium
authority which could raise the taxes discussed to finance the
project (Craig Gilbert, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 8/17).