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Volume 24 No. 116

Facilities Venues

     The MI Strategic Fund yesterday approved a $55M grant to
help pay for a new ballpark for the Tigers in the Fox Theatre
district near downtown, and they set a "strict timetable" for
completion, according to today's DETROIT NEWS.  The city
reportedly "must approve" its $35M share of stadium financing by
the year's end, and construction "must begin" by April 1, "or the
state will pull its money back."  The Tigers must also come up
with $140M.  Lynn Waldsmith notes, among other things, the city
will refinance existing Downtown Development Authority bonds to
raise its share of funding.  James Tervo, an aide to Mayor Dennis
Archer, predicted the city council will meet its deadline.  Under
terms of the grant: 1)  No more than $25M would be allocated for
land acquisition -- the remaining $30M must be spent on public
infrastructure;  2) The Tigers must sign an occupancy agreement
for not less than 15 years by December 31;  3) The Strategic Fund
must be repaid if the public stadium is sold or transferred to a
private entity (DETROIT NEWS, 9/21).

     Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has asked K.C.-based sports
architectural firm, HOK, to draft an overhaul plan for Soldier
Field similar to what was done for the Gator Bowl,  according to
in today's CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.  Park District Supt. Forrest
Claypool said yesterday that a rehab, along with "more favorable
terms for the Bears, could take place without raising property
taxes or jeopardizing the park budget."  HOK is expected to draft
a renovation that does not include rotating the playing field 90
degrees, but closer to the plan that was scrapped in '93.  That
project included 4,000 premium-priced club seats, enlarged
skyboxes, new washrooms, concessions and a high-tech scoreboard
(Spielman & Drell, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/21).

     A day after oilman Chuck Watson bought operating rights to
The Summit and proposed $45M in improvements be financed with
taxpayer and team funds, Houston Mayor Bob Lanier said his
"longstanding opposition" to using public funds on a new football
stadium also applies to improvements to the Summit.  The mayor,
however, did leave open the possibility of some form of public
financing for renovations, "with a sanction from taxpayers"
(Mason & Williams HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/21).

     Proponents of a new baseball stadium in Seattle said
yesterday that they "hope to propose at least one more financing
plan" if voters reject the current effort (AP/Baltimore SUN,
9/21)....Local and state representatives from Racine County, WI,
have said the county "is not part of the Milwaukee metro area."
They oppose including the county in a taxing district needed to
help pay for a new Brewers stadium (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL,
9/21)....Murray Chass reports NJ officials "have been careful not
to initiate formal talks" about the Yankees moving there, lest
they be viewed "as trying to steal the team."  Yankees Owner
George Steinbrenner said that the team "is interested in anyone
who will talk to us" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/21).