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Key Marlins votes slated for Friday

If all goes according to plan, a new Florida Marlins ballpark will be approved by Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami Friday.
If all goes according to plan, a new Florida Marlins ballpark will one big step closer to reality when five key contracts are up for approval before the Miami-Dade Commission and the city of Miami during a joint meeting at 1 p.m. Friday.

The contracts basically cover all aspects of the ballpark construction and management. They are the final steps toward construction of a new $609-million retractable-roof facility at the former Orange Bowl site.

To be sure, there will be some protests before the ballpark contracts are approved, and we expect some of the discussions to be contentious. Given the economy, a ballpark funding plan relying on 74 percent from the public is a huge deal, and the fact that local officials can’t be specific about the total cost of the project — which may actually approach a billion dollars when debt service is included in the equation — raises some eyebrows. But there’s been a lack of real outrage in Miami about the deal — and we’re guessing that’s mainly due to the fact the "public" contribution to the project comes from local tourism taxes, which generally don’t affect the average taxpayer.

As part of the deal, the Florida Marlins will change their name to the Miami Marlins.