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Council Delays Decision on Arena Funding

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RALEIGH — An ownership group hoping to have financingplans for a proposed arena nailed down Tuesday were disappointed when theRaleigh City Council delayed a vote on additional funding for thebuilding for at least two weeks.

The council voted 5-3 to request more information from the independentgroup planning the area. Specifically, the council wants more details onan alternative design for a smaller, less costly arena, an option MayorTom Fetzer supports.

The Centennial Authority wants Raleigh and Wake County to approvespending an additional $48 million more for a 21,000-seat arena near N.C.State University that also would be home to the men's basketball team.The money would come from revenue generated by the hotel tax levied inWake County.

TheWake County commissioners unanimously approved the extra expenditure of hotel tax receipts in a meeting last week.

"I can't explain why we are still talking about a 21,000-seat arena,"Fetzer said, "and I don't think we will get a true picture of the costsavings until the authority commits itself to a smaller arena. This arenais too big."

Raleigh is awaiting word, not expected until March or later, on whetherit will be home to a National Hockey League expansion franchise. Aprospectiveownership group, including Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates Jr., madean official presentation last week to the National Hockey League'sexecutive committee.

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