Marlins Owner OKs Stadium Plan
May. 30, 2001
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MIAMI (AP) _ Florida Marlins owner John Henry gave his approval of a plan that calls for Miami to use property tax money to help fund a 40,000-seat, retractable-roof ballpark.
Miami Mayor Joe Carollo wanted Henry's approval before unveiling the plan Tuesday.
Miami residents will be asked in a referendum to approve a refinance and 30-year extension of the city's bond debt, as well as a 40-year extension of a city parking surcharge that raises $13 million annually.
Such an extension of the bond debt would raise $326 million, $148 million of which would go to stadium construction, Miami City Manager Carlos Gimenez said. The rest of the funds would be used for infrastructure improvement.
Miami-Dade County has pledged $118 million in hotel tax money, and Henry said the team will give $120 million to the effort.
Residents will vote on the referendum within 45 days of city commission approval of the plan, and Carollo said he will call a special commission meeting in the next 10 days to discuss the proposal.
Even if voters give the go-ahead for a parking surcharge extension, the Florida Legislature needs to approve it during its session next year. Carollo said he will seek assurances from state lawmakers that the measure will be adopt. The Legislature failed to pass a similar bill before ending its session May 4.
Earlier this month, Henry said the team would need a financing plan within 30 days to get a new ballpark by 2005. If not, he said, he might be forced to sell or move the team.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig warned legislators in April that if they didn't help finance a stadium, the Marlins would be a likely candidate for relocation or elimination.
The Marlins currently share Pro Player Stadium with the Miami Dolphins.