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Volume 24 No. 114

Facilities Venues

          St. Petersburg officials have put together a $7.2M
     package to ensure Tropicana Field renovations are completed
     by a March 1 construction deadline, according to David
     Rogers in the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES.  The move comes as the
     "renovation to prepare" Tropicana Field for MLB "is being
     threatened by cost overruns and increasingly bitter disputes
     among" project architects, contractors and the Devil Rays. 
     In addition to the "cash infusion, the package is designed
     to keep the project moving ahead."  No fault will be
     determined "until the end of the project, when a mediator
     will review disputes" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/11).

          While "stiff opposition" to public financing of a
     major-league ballpark "persists," 44% of registered voters
     polled in Guilford and Forsyth, NC, counties now say they
     would vote for a prepared-foods tax to raise $140M toward
     stadium construction costs, according to Justin Catanos of
     the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD.  But 48% said they would vote
     against it and 8% remain undecided.  The poll, of 405
     voters, was conducted for the NEWS & RECORD by Piedmont
     Opinion last week and had a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.  It
     "suggests that if the referendum were held today, the
     outcome would be too close to call."  A June survey showed
     36% in favor, 58% opposed and 5% undecided.  Of those
     surveyed last week, 31% said the possibility of getting the
     Twins would make them more likely to support the stadium
     tax, while 59% said it would have no effect.  Also, the tax
     is "far more popular with African Americans than Caucasians,
     more popular with men than women and more popular with
     registered voters under age 35" (NEWS & RECORD, 10/12). 

          A new poll shows that MA voters "oppose spending tax
     dollars" to help the Patriots in their "quest to renovate
     Foxboro Stadium," by a ratio of more than 2 to 1, according
     to Scot Lehigh of the BOSTON GLOBE.  The survey of 530
     registered voters, conducted October 4-8, was commissioned
     by Suffolk Univ.'s Beacon Hill Institute, and conducted by
     Clark Univ.'s Public Affairs Research Center.  It has a
     margin of error of +/- 4%.  The survey noted that the State
     Legislature "was debating" whether to issue state-backed
     bonds, which "may cost taxpayers as much as" $80M to help
     the Patriots renovate Foxboro Stadium.  Data showed that 63%
     of respondents opposed "such a public expense, compared to"
     30% who favored it; 7% "were unsure or had no opinion." 
     Patriots VP/Communications Don Lowery dismissed the poll,
     saying "it failed to provide respondents even basic
     information on the proposal" that (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/12).

          Rockets Owner Les Alexander asked Houston City Council
     members yesterday "to postpone" a vote to rename The Summit,
     according to John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. 
     Alexander's lobbyist, Bill Miller, said that Alexander "is
     concerned" how the deal could affect the team's 24 corporate
     sponsors that have arena ad rights during NBA games.  Miller
     said that the Rockets "know virtually nothing about the
     deal" between Arena Management Corp. and Compaq Computer
     Corp. "aside from media reports."  Councilmember Rob Todd
     said that "unless more information is provided," the issues
     could be postponed for a week (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/14).

          The San Antonio Sports Foundation and the Greater San
     Antonio Chamber of Commerce "are primed" to launch surveys
     "to gauge public support for the construction of a new
     multipurpose arena" (S.A. EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/11)....In Akron,
     David Adams examined construction of Cleveland's new
     football stadium in light of cost overruns incurred by
     Gateway Corp. with Jacobs Field and Gund Arena.  Mayor
     Michael White, on staying within the $247M budget: "We have
     been relentless with the architect.  We have been relentless
     with the engineer.  We have been relentless with the owner's
     representative.  We have been relentless with the
     construction manager" (BEACON JOURNAL, 10/12).