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Arena's a Go

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RALEIGH — A proposed entertainment and sports arena isback on the fast track in Raleigh, after a surprise vote near the end of aTuesday city council session. It was considered a major break in anongoingpolitical power-play over the proposed facility.

For about three hours, it appeared the excavated site on the North Carolina State campus would remain justthat. Then, at about 5:40 p.m., council changed its vote after havingturned down a proposal earlier in the day that would have given $48million to the arena.

Steve Stroud of the Centennial Authority, the group responsible forobtaining funding for the facility, says he's feeling far more optimisticabout the project's future.

Stroud says there's still work to be done, but he believes the way hasbeen paved for construction to continue this summer.

Stroud says he's glad the council members got together on this vote,and that he thinks everyone truly believes there will be a professionalsports team in Raleigh before long.

The owner of the Hartford Whalers hockey team was in Raleigh last weekas part of a cross-country trip scouting a new home for his team.Earlier this year, hopes for a National Hockey League expansion teamhere were dashed whenthe financier dropped out of the running over frustration with politicalindecision about the arena.

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