Venue News: Rams Submit Upgrade Plans for Edward Jones Dome; Marlins Iron Out Stadium Kinks

The St. Louis Rams have submitted plans to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome, a key step to making sure the team doesn’t leave town. The team turned in its counterproposal on Tuesday, declining to release details. The plan was given to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, the operator of the dome that announced its own plan in February. The rejected CVC plan included $124 million in improvements, featuring a massive scoreboard measuring 96 feet long, new club seats, windows to add natural light and even a 50,000-square-foot attachment with a ”Geek Suite” area for electronic buffs and fantasy football players. But the CVC plan called for the team to pay 52 percent of the cost, or about $64.5 million Taxpayers in St. Louis city and county would have been asked to pick up the rest of the cost or some $60 million…

…Miami Marlins president David Samson said it was going to take the organization all year to work out the kinks at the new ballpark. A month in, the Marlins are still trying to figure out how to plug leaks in their 8,000-ton retractable roof and how to stop the grass from dying in the outfield. With the team hitting the road Tuesday for nine games, the grounds crew at Marlins Park is first going to turn its attention to the grass in the outfield — particularly right field — that is turning brown. The Marlins already have replaced the turf in right field once — before opening night. Samson said there’s always a chance they might have to replace the sod entirely. During the Marlins’ trip, the grounds crew will use sun lamps to help the grass grow. Samson said the Marlins are confident natural grass can be successful in the ballpark, even with the roof closed for most games…

…The big push at Minnesota’s Capitol to pass a public subsidy for a new Vikings stadium stalled Tuesday, as the proposal got snared in the partisan politics that have defined the state government under a Democratic governor and Republican legislative majorities. The prospect of impending House and Senate floor votes on the $975 million stadium plan appeared to dissolve after Republican legislative leaders unexpectedly debuted a brand-new financing plan that differs significantly from the proposal negotiated by Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, the Vikings, and the city of Minneapolis. GOP leaders called for shrinking the proposed $400 million state contribution by an unspecified amount, eliminating the stadium’s roof, and paying for it with state general bonds rather than tax money from an expansion of legal gambling…

…Markham, Ontario, may be one step closer to building an NHL-ready arena after city councilors approved a plan to finance a new sports complex. The 20,000-seat arena comes with a $325-million price tag, half of which will be covered by a private partnership, GTA Sports and Entertainment (GTASE), with the other half to be covered by the city. Late Thursday, the city council voted 11-2 to go ahead with plans to borrow $162.5 million. The plan claims Markham won’t need property tax hikes to cover its share. Instead, the money will come from charges to developers, parking, and surcharges on arena tickets.

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