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Marlins Deal Kaput?

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The Florida Marlins are in desperate need of a great closer. Someone who can seal the deal with the Miami City Commission and the Miami-Dade County Commission over the team's sweetheart $630 million stadium deal. Right now the Marlins dreams of a new domed home on the former Orange Bowl site appears to be falling apart.

Already facing skepticism from City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and several county commissioners, the Marlins now have to find a way to make City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones happy. Fresh from maternity leave, Miami's only black commissioner is demanding the city, the county and the baseball franchise take care of Overtown if they want her support.

"Overtown must get its fair share," Spence-Jones said in a written statement she released today.

Spence-Jones wants the city and the county to quickly expand the boundaries of the Overtown Community Redevelopment Agency as well as extending the board's life. She also wants to add a clause to the stadium deal that would prevent the Marlins from tapping into any property taxes generated by new development in Overtown. But her biggest demand comes with a hefty price-tag. Spence-Jones wants the city and the county to do a half-billion dollar bond issuance to redevelop Miami's historic black community.

As for the Marlins, Spence-Jones is insisting the team fund a mini-baseball youth academy in the inner city and support local optimist clubs in Overtown and Liberty City. "Or the Marlins will strike out," Spence-Jones asserted.

The city commission is scheduled to vote on the stadium deal on March 6.






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