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Miami-Dade mayor: $73M 'still on table' for new stadium

 

 

 

By Sarah Talalay

Staff Writer

 

April 7, 2004

 

The day was about beginning the defense of the Marlins' 2003 World Series title, but the subject of a new stadium is never far behind with a May 1 deadline looming and a couple of mayors in attendance.

 

Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas again threw his support to a proposed $325 million retractable roof ballpark before Tuesday's opener at Pro Player Stadium

 

"The $73 million [in hotel taxes] we put on the table several months ago is still on the table," Penelas said. "It'd be a sad day if the Marlins leave South Florida, so I remain optimistic."

 

The Marlins say they need a financing plan by May 1 to ensure the team can move into a new home by April 2007 in order to stem annual losses of about $20 million.

 

It remains unclear where a new ballpark could be located and how the Marlins, who have committed $137 million and hope to convince the state Legislature to support a $60 million sales tax rebate, will complete the deal. Penelas said four parties are needed: the team, county, state and the city of Miami or another entity that can provide land.

 

Talks with the city of Miami broke off when the Marlins said they had not seen a workable proposal for a site adjacent to the Orange Bowl stadium.

 

But team president David Samson said Tuesday the team "will consider everything."

 

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz breezed into the stadium without discussing the issue.

 

Team owner Jeffrey Loria, who the day before urged area leaders to get a deal completed, clearly wasn't thinking about stadiums. He cheered along with fans as the U.S. Army's Golden Knights parachuted into the stadium with the World Series championship flag. He showed off the diamond-encrusted World Series ring he spent the offseason designing.

 

"It's what [the players] deserve," Loria said.

 

ATTENDANCE WATCH

 

The equivalent of 8,500 full season tickets have been sold, up from 5,000 last season. The team is expecting about 17,000 each for the next two games, about 25,000 on Friday and about 40,000 for Saturday's game and World Series ring ceremony.

Copyright ? 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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