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eadearmas

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The following article was published today in the Sun Sentinel

Link to Article "Miami Official: Stadium Offer Too Low" Sun Sentinel

Miami official: Stadium offer too low

By Sarah Talalay
Staff Writer
Posted April 18 2003

If the Marlins want the city of Miami's financial help to build a new ballpark, they will need to make a more significant contribution to the project than they have proposed so far, Miami City Manager Joe Arriola said.

Arriola said he met with the Marlins a few times to discuss a new stadium in downtown Miami -- most recently just before Opening Day -- but the team's proposal did not include any money for construction of a stadium expected to cost $450 million.

"We wanted to be very friendly. We were enthused when we were told they were willing to put approximately $100 million of their money into the stadium," Arriola said. "My original understanding was they were looking for land and infrastructure. It turned out to be the $100 million was nothing other than rent payments. Rent is rent. They are not putting a single dollar into this venture."

As a result, Arriola said he has finished discussing a stadium with the Marlins.

"Unless they're willing to put their money in, we're not willing to put ours in," Arriola said. "Unless they're willing to put real dollars into the stadium, there's nothing for us to talk about."

Marlins President David Samson, who has repeatedly declined to discuss stadium plans, refused comment again Thursday.

Samson has been meeting quietly with Miami and Miami-Dade County officials over the past several months to discuss the team's objectives and to gauge interest in helping finance a stadium. With the help of Major League Baseball, the team has hired two consultants versed in land acquisition and financing, but team officials have not discussed a new stadium publicly, insisting they want to generate as much revenue as possible at Pro Player Stadium. Their lease at the stadium runs through 2004 with six more one-year options.

Team officials have said when they are ready, they will reveal a stadium plan.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas has met with Samson, but the talks have been more general in nature, said Javier Soto, Penelas' chief of staff.

"The county has not engaged in that level of specificity in our brief discussion with the Marlins," Soto said. "We look forward to learning more as to what they have in mind. That information has yet to be presented to anyone in the county. The mayor remains committed to doing everything within reason to ensure the viability of this vital community asset in South Florida."

Arriola said the team and city were discussing two potential sites, which he would not reveal, but are near the locations discussed when John Henry owned the team, meaning they are most likely in the proximity of Miami Arena.

Sarah Talalay can be reached at stalalay@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4173.
Copyright ? 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
 

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