BOSTON (AP) -- Key state legislators, the governor, the mayor and Boston Red Sox officials have reached a tentative agreement for a new ballpark. Only a public hearing, City Council action and a vote in the state Legislature stand in the way.
After three hours in the latest of a series of talks among state and city politicians and the team, officials emerged Tuesday with details of a financing plan.
A public hearing on the agreement is likely to be held Friday. And the Legislature is planning to convene a formal session Saturday to act on the deal before Monday's adjournment of this year's session.
Assuming a bill is approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by Cellucci, the project still faces the hurdle of the Boston City Council. Two-thirds of the 13-member council is needed to approve any land taking, and seven councilors have already publicly opposed the plan.
Under terms of the tentative agreement, the city would contribute $140 million for land acquisition and site preparation, as well as $72 million for a parking garage, while the state would kick in $100 million on infrastructure costs, such as road and subway improvements. The city and team would share revenues from the garage.
The team would spend $352 million for construction of a new 44,000-seat ballpark, which is to be next to the current 88-year-old park -- the oldest and smallest in the country.
The deal would also hold the team responsible for a possible additional cost of $28 million that may be needed for soil removal on the site of a new ballpark. The team will have to find a way to pay for the soil removal without the help of either state or city government.
In order to raise $12 million annually to pay off bonds to be taken out by the city for its portion of the cost, a $5 parking surcharge would be levied on spaces around the park on game days. Other sources of revenue include a 5 percent surcharge on general admission tickets and a 15 percent surcharge on luxury box tickets.
The terms of the deal -- particularly the ticket surcharges and the need to look for private financing -- left Red Sox chief executive officer John Harrington concerned.
"It may be impossible to overcome," Harrington said of the financing hurdles. Nevertheless, he remained optimistic, saying, "I hope we will be able to open a new ballpark in 2003 or 2004." Harrington also called the ticket surcharges "a burden on fans."
Former Red Sox general manager Lou Gorman, now a consultant, said, "I'm thrilled and delighted. They need it. The economics of the game are that you have to have it, or you can't survive."
The question of whether the state should pick up the $28 million cost of soil removal as part of the infrastructure expenses proved the toughest part of the negotiations.
House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran said soil removal is not traditional public infrastructure, such as road and subway improvements, and therefore shouldn't be paid for with government money.
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