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News of a stadium?

Ramp

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from miamiherald.com
Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas said Friday the county is studying ways to help finance a stadium for the Marlins, and he's ''very optimistic'' a new facility eventually will be built.

But Penelas said any county contribution would be contingent on the team changing its name to the Miami Marlins.

''I'm very optimistic [a new stadium]will get done, whether during my tenure or someone else's,'' said Penelas, whose second and final mayoral term will end in the fall of 2004.

Penelas emphasized conversations with the Marlins are still in the early stages, and the county has not determined whether it can help finance the project, which some estimates put at $450 million.

The mayor said if the county contributes, the Marlins also will be asked to pitch in. Marlins president David Samson declined comment.

Penelas did not rule out two potential revenue streams: a bond issue and limited funds available from a county development tax.

The county development tax generated $25.6 million in the 2002 fiscal year, an 18 percent drop from 2001, according to the county's finance department. Most of that money is pledged for other projects.

A bond issue potentially could raise considerably more.

''Bonds always sound great, but bonds are like credit cards -- you have to pay them back with interest,'' Penelas said. ``You need a stream of money to pay off the debt. You have to have available interest. The only way this works is if there is a true partnership -- city, county and the private sector. Nothing less than equal participation would be realistic.''

Earlier this year, the Marlins had discussions with Miami city manager Joe Arriola. Arriola said then he ''doubts very seriously'' the city could help pay for construction.

The Marlins are believed to prefer a downtown Miami location, either on the Miami Arena site or nearby.

Some Miami-Dade County commissioners did not share Penelas' optimism. ''We can't afford it, and we have too many other priorities,'' Jimmy Morales said Friday.

Commissioner Katy Sorensen said building a stadium ``is way down my list of priorities. We have so many infrastructure needs we'll have to address with a bond issue. Besides, the Marlins no longer even have a fan base. . . . It makes no sense whatsoever.''

Said commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler: ``The mayor many times starts these conversations, and we don't know anything about them until they're halfway finished.''

Commissioner Bruno Barreiro said, ``I'm definitely supportive of trying to bring the Marlins to the city of Miami.'
 

AJBurnett34

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C'Mon penelas we need a new ball park. It will help attract alot of fans. We will be in better shape money wise...
 

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