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Volume 24 No. 159

Facilities Venues

          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).