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Volume 24 No. 117
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Facility Notes

In Arizona, Rob O’Dell reports the Univ. of Arizona is "pushing the idea of a new downtown arena" in Tucson, "possibly with seating up to 18,000.” The “likely location is property west of the Tucson Convention Center that the city put up for sale after the previous arena plan was dropped.” UA also has talked with city officials about “a potential baseball, softball and general athletic complex west of Interstate 10, near downtown.” The project “could include everything from an indoor driving range to a domed, multiuse facility.” There has “even been talk of a new football stadium, although those talks are on a slow track because of probable opposition from west-side neighbors and the UA's current $85 million in upgrades being done at Arizona Stadium.” O’Dell noted there has been “no real talk about how the new arena and athletic complex would be funded” (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 2/13).

EARLY STEPS: In St. Paul, Dave Orrick reports Ramsey County (Minn.) Commissioners yesterday “voted overwhelmingly to move ahead -- officially -- to negotiate with the Vikings on building a new stadium in Arden Hills.” No formal proposal exists “for how to finance such a stadium, which would be built on an abandoned Army ammunition plant along U.S. 10 near Interstate 35W, and commissioners portrayed the action as merely an early step to determine whether any deal would be worthwhile for the county.” Yesterday’s vote “authorizes the county to spend what could amount to more than $100,000 in reserves on environmental reports, traffic studies and legal costs to investigate the project.” Orrick notes 11 members of the county's state legislative delegation signed a letter to commissioners calling the idea "foolhardy" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/16).

LOSING THEIR SIGNAL: In Oklahoma City, Ryan Aber reported for the first time since AT&T Bricktown Ballpark opened in '98, it will “not carry the name of the communications company” as its corporate sponsor. Mandalay Baseball’s Michael Byrnes, whose company owns the Triple-A PCL RedHawks who play in the facility, said the stadium will be referred to as “RedHawks Ballpark.” Byrnes: “AT&T told us they were changing their marketing strategy. We’re talking to a number of companies in the community, but there’s nothing set yet.” The stadium was called Southwestern Bell Ballpark before a name change in ’02 to SBC Bricktown Ballpark. The AT&T “moniker replaced SBC in 2006” (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 2/15).

BREAKING GROUND: In Baltimore, Kevin Van Valkenburg notes Johns Hopkins Univ. yesterday announced that it “plans to build a $10 million, 14,000-square foot lacrosse facility on the south end of Homewood Field that will serve as the home for its men's and women's programs.” The building -- which “will be named the Cordish Lacrosse Center in honor of developer David Cordish, the lead donor and a former Hopkins player -- is believed to be the first of its kind, constructed solely for lacrosse.” The project, “being funded entirely by private donations,” will break ground in June (Baltimore SUN, 2/16).