Baseball Stadium Plan Approved

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The state Assembly gave final legislative approval late Monday to an end-of-session bill aimed at raising money for a minor league baseball stadium in the Reno-Sparks area by taxing rental cars.

The measure moved so quickly because of Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio's support. The Reno Republican was joined in pushing the tax plan by former Sparks mayor Bruce Breslow and Pacific Coast League president Branch Rickey III.

Rickey says the league has a team in mind for the Reno-Sparks area if the stadium is built near the Sparks Marina, but has declined to identify the team.

Breslow maintains an average per-game turnout of about 6,000 people would make the project profitable, and give the Reno-Sparks area "a big show" to boost the economy.

Raggio has said other Reno-Sparks lawmakers and Washoe County commissioners all backed the proposal.

The 2 percent tax on rental car charges would raise more than $23 million and be one of several funding sources for the $40 million project.

Stadium development would also get financial help from the city of Sparks, a $1 tax on each baseball ticket sold and a $500,000 annual long-term lease to the team that plays in the park.

The proposed stadium site is just east of the Sparks Marina, by Interstate 80. It was selected because of its freeway access and because it could attract fans from throughout northern Nevada.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)