MN Gov. Arne Carlson "declared his confidence"
Wednesday in the proposed funding plan for a St. Paul hockey
arena and in the close association between the Minnesota
Wild and the M.A. Mortenson Co. picked to oversee
construction of the $130M arena, according to Robert
Whereatt of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. But "several"
legislators said "disclosures this week are a potential
setback in St. Paul's efforts" to have the state pick up
$65M of the arena's cost. New reports showed that M.A.
Mortenson pledged $1M to become an investor in the team and
"helped land" the NHL franchise by lending the owners
$100,000 to pay the fee. The Wild "eventually rejected the
investment offer." Also, former St. Paul City Council
President Dave Thune, once an "opponent of the arena," was
hired by Mortenson while he was serving on the council. He
later voted to allow the Wild, not the city, to choose the
construction manager, which turned out to be Mortenson.
Carlson's Press Secretary, Jackie Renner, said that despite
the reports, Carlson "does not see any way in which the
public interest is not protected." Members of the MN
Senate and House began meeting yesterday to work out
differences in capital-improvement bills passed by each
body. The House version includes $65M for the arena, while
the Senate version has no arena funds (STAR TRIBUNE, 3/19).
For the "second time in as many years," a court has
told NHL Panthers Owner Wayne Huizenga to "pay higher wages
to construction workers at the Broward County Arena site,"
according to Lebowitz & Fleshler of the Ft. Lauderdale SUN-
SENTINEL. The team plans to appeal the decision, reached
yesterday by the Fourth District Court of Appeals, which
ruled that it must pay "so-called 'prevailing wages'," which
are required by Broward County law but were not included in
contracts between the county and the Panthers' Arena
Development Corporation (PADC). PADC President Alex Mucho
said that the decision, and the continuing legal process,
"will have no impact on" the project, which is on schedule
to open in October (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 3/19).
CT Governor John Rowland today will present an
"ambitious" plan to "invigorate" downtown Hartford. The
plan includes a convention center, "perhaps with an attached
domed or outdoor stadium, representing a state investment of
roughly" $150M (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/19)....In Denver, a new
survey by Ciruli Associates polled 546 registered voters and
found that 57% would vote for a stadium tax to help finance
a new Broncos stadium, while 39% opposed the project (ROCKY
MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/19). The survey, conducted this month, is
an increase from 53% who supported the tax before the
Broncos won the Super Bowl, but a "slight decrease" from
numbers immediately after the Super Bowl, which showed
support "running closer" to 60% (DENVER POST, 3/19)....The
Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) has raised parking at
Houlihan's Stadium from $5 to $6. The first such increase
in six years will take effect with the MLS Mutiny's opening
game. TSA does not control parking prices for Buccaneers
games, and the team "is expected to announce its prices in
the near future" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/19).