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Tuesday, November 4, 2003
Updated: November 5, 10:53 AM ET
Commissioners approve last week's plan

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved a plan Tuesday to commit $73 million in tax money toward a new ballpark for the World Series champion Florida Marlins.

County officials announced last week that they would direct $35 million in convention development tax money and $38 million more in professional sports franchise facility tax money to the planned stadium.

The plan had to be finalized by commissioners Tuesday -- or else the $35 million plus $15 million more would have gone to the city of Miami Beach on Dec. 1 for convention center upgrades. Tuesday's meeting was the last Commissioners meeting before that deadline.

The team has agreed to change its name to the Miami Marlins if the city builds the ballpark, which is projected to cost $325 million. The Marlins want to begin playing in the new park in 2007.

The Marlins say they'll commit $137 million to the new ballpark's costs. There's still no plan to raise the rest of the money.

City and state funding also will be needed, according to county Mayor Alex Penelas.

Marlins president David Samson says the team needs its own ballpark to remain financially stable. It currently leases Pro Player Stadium from former Marlins owner H. Wayne Huizenga.