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Council approves hockey plan

June 2, 1997

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ The City Council approved 6-1 a deal today intended to draw a NHL team to St. Paul.

``I think we got an A-plus chance of getting a team,″ Mayor Norm Coleman said.

The interim financing plan is for a $130 million arena to attract a franchise. The deal obligates the city, which already has agreed to pay $30 million for a new arena, to arrange an additional $65 million in interim financing that would be paid through a variety of city revenue sources.

The hope is that the state next year will make good on a commitment from Gov. Arne Carlson to come through with $65 million in bonds to replace the interim financing.

An NHL expansion committee meets Wednesday to consider bids for new franchises from six cities, including St. Paul.

Council member Jerry Blakey voted against the plan.

``I think the ticket prices are too high,″ he said, adding that his constituents cannot afford to pay up to $50 for tickets.

To pay for the interim loan, St. Paul budget analysts patched together revenue from a variety of sources, including the lodging tax, an extension of the half-cent sales tax, an additional surcharge on tickets and revenues from a tax increment financing district.

The plan will also be reviewed by the Civic Center Authority and the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

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