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Volume 24 No. 157

Facilities Venues

          The "lack of hard facts" on how the City of San Diego
     will contribute $225M toward the Padres ballpark "makes it
     virtually impossible to assess the project's financial
     risks," according to the city's Task Force on Ballpark
     Planning Chair Pat Shea, who added that the "information
     vacuum threatens to erode public confidence in the project." 
     The SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE's Philip LaVelle writes that the
     $225M would be raised by issuing bonds to be repaid by the
     city's hotel-room tax, but what's "not clear is exactly how
     the project would cut into the hotel-tax revenue stream." 
     It is "likely -- but not committed to any document the
     public has seen -- that most of it would come from new
     revenues produced by hotels not yet built."  Also unknown is
     what portion of these revenues would be taken from the 200
     or so civic programs that "rely" on the tax.  Those
     decisions are up to S.D. Mayor Susan Golding and the City
     Council, which will meet again today to discuss the details
     (UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/17).  In addition, two county supervisors
     say Golding "has misled the public by stating the current"
     ballpark proposal "lacks only" $21M in additional funding,
     and that the funding gap is much larger.  Golding's
     spokesperson Mary Anne Pintar called the allegations
     "totally outrageous" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/17).
          WORK TO DO: In examining the team's agreement with the
     city, business writer Philip LaVelle wrote that while the
     Padres want to place the measure on the November 3 ballot, a
     "lack of hotel industry participation in the pro-ballpark
     campaign would be a glaring absence in the coalition the
     Padres hope to form."  In addition, the team and Golding
     "will have to answer" why "so much public investment" should
     go toward the project (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/16).  

          In Toronto, work on the Air Canada Centre "ground to a
     halt" Wednesday, when construction workers honored a picket
     line by striking crane operators.  The strike isn't expected
     to affect the arena's opening (TORONTO STAR, 7/16)....Scott
     Clark, President of Clark Companies, a design and
     construction firm which specializes in athletic fields,
     estimates that the installation of a grass field at Giants
     Stadium will cost $2.5-3M, plus $400,000 to $500,000 a year
     in upkeep.  Giants Stadium is the "first and only testing
     ground" for Clark's new system and Clark's work at the
     Meadowlands is profiled in today's N.Y. POST and N.Y. DAILY
     NEWS (7/17)....The St. Petersburg City Council approved the
     spending of $200,500 in "unexpected" costs for renovations to
     Tropicana Field.  The Devil Rays will split the bill, which
     was for work necessary to ensure the stadium being ready for
     the team's inaugural game in March 31 (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 7/17).

          MA House Speaker Thomas Finneran said yesterday that
     the Patriots "must choose between the House's version of a
     bill to help the team rebuild Foxboro Stadium or no state
     aid at all," according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. 
     Finneran said that he "still opposed" the Senate's version
     of the stadium bill, which "is more generous" to team Owner
     Robert Kraft than the House version.  Finneran added that he
     "would reject any attempt to have the House vote" on the
     Senate bill.  A Patriots spokesperson declined comment. The
     House bill, passed last fall, authorizes $50M in state funds
     for improvements to roads, light and other infrastructure
     around Foxboro and Kraft, in return, would refurbish the
     stadium.  Unlike the Senate version, the House bill "did not
     include funds to purchase the land and lease it back to
     Kraft."  The MA session ends July 31, and if no action is
     taken, the bills "automatically die" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/17).