Commissioners approve last week's plan

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

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

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.