Marlins set stadium groundbreaking
MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins will break ground on their new stadium July 18 at the site formally occupied by the Orange Bowl.
The 37,000-seat ballpark will have a retractable roof and is scheduled to open in 2012.
"The groundbreaking will be open to the public and we are expecting a large crowd, we hope ... if the weather holds up. There won't be a roof by then," Marlins president David Samson said Monday.
Following three straight weekend games against the San Francisco Giants that all were delayed by rain, the Marlins had averaged 10,852 during the first eight games of a current 11-game homestand.
Work at the new stadium site actually is set to begin July 1. The days leading up to the groundbreaking ceremony mainly will be used to clear the area.
The event will take place nearly four months after Miami-Dade County commissioners finalized the stadium deal on March 23. Since the team began play in 1993, three different owners all tried to get a new ballpark built.
One final financial hurdle remains before the groundbreaking. Miami-Dade County officials will begin in mid-June the sale of bonds backed by tourist tax dollars to pay for the new ballpark. Samson said that was a formality common with any new stadium financing.
"The bonds have been rated. They're all A-plus or above," Samson said. "Now, the county will be going to market within the next week to two weeks, and everyone feels confident."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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