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Cities ready to invest in keeping baseball

Toronto Blue Jays representatives and Dunedin officials Saturday ironed out the final wrinkles in a contract to keep the team's spring training program in town for another 15 years.

The 30-minute special City Commission meeting came a day after the Jays agreed to pick up half of a possible $50,000 property tax bill. Mayor Tom Anderson said last week that the team's willingness to participate in paying the taxes would make or break the deal because of the financial impact the taxes would have on the city.

The agreement Saturday paves the way for a contribution of $3-million from the county and $6-million from the state toward renovating Grant Field and Englebert Complex for the team. The remaining $3-million needed for the renovation will be split between the team and the city during the course of the contract.

The next stop for the deal is the county's Tourist Development Council, which is expected to provide the county's $3-million portion to the project. The Tourist Development Council will review the contract between the city and team Monday and then submit its funding recommendation to the County Commission, which will vote Tuesday.

The deadline to submit a request for state money is Oct. 1.

_ From Times staff reports.