Arena talks may resume soon

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Another round of talks between the Penguins and state and local officials over funding for a new arena could be days away.

Gov. Ed Rendell is expected to meet with Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle late tomorrow or Friday during a visit to Pittsburgh to discuss progress on Plan B, the funding formula he put together for a new arena. Also expected to attend are Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato.

The parties were still attempting to establish a firm time and day for the meeting yesterday.

The meeting would be the first since Jan. 4, when state and local officials met with Mr. Lemieux and Mr. Burkle at the State Office Building, Downtown.

The meeting, described as very positive, began the effort of cobbling together an agreement under Plan B to build a new arena and keep the team in Pittsburgh. The Penguins also are considering an offer from Kansas City to move into the new $276 million Sprint Center next season.

While talks between the Penguins and state and local officials over Plan B have gone well, it's unlikely that the meeting this week will produce a final agreement.

The Penguins declined comment yesterday. Mr. Onorato said he was not aware of a meeting being set up. While the governor's office confirmed that Mr. Rendell will be in Pittsburgh later this week, it said there was no meeting with the Penguins on his schedule as of yesterday.


Mark Belko can be reached at mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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