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NEW BASEBALL STADIUM MAY NOT OPEN UNTIL '97

Mayor Glenn Mecham will ask the Ogden City Council next Tuesday to approve an agreement giving the city another year to provide a new downtown baseball stadium.

Mecham and the Baseball Promotion and Stadium Development Committee, appointed by the council to help raise funds for the stadium, had originally hoped to begin construction by next Mon-day.Original agreements with Raptors owner Ogden Professional Baseball Inc. require the city to provide the team with a new facility by the 1996 season. However, funding isn't complete and land acquisition has not even begun.

Dave Baggott, president of Ogden Professional Baseball, has already signed the agreement giving the city until the start of the 1997 season to open a downtown stadium.

The committee has estimated it will cost $6 million to build the stadium. So far, the city has committed to $1.5 million and the state to $1 million.

The city is basing fund-raising efforts on the expectation of $1.5 million each from the city, state, a major donor and several smaller donors.

John Lindquist Jr., a booster of the new stadium, said Wednesday the city has collected more than half the $1.5 million needed from private do-nors.

Plans are to construct a 3,000-seat stadium on the old Ogden Iron Works site at 23rd Street and Lincoln. The seating capacity would grow to 5,000 in the second year of operation.

Stadium backers previously said a proposed professional baseball rule to prohibit new stadiums within 72 miles of existing ones after the 1997 season fueled their drive for a May 1 construction start this year. The new stadium would be within 72 miles of Franklin Quest Field in Salt Lake City.

But Lindquist said Wednesday that because the Raptors already exist, the team and its stadium would be exempt from the ban.