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Mariners applaud $135 million approved for Safeco Field improvements

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The King County Council approve a compromise deal to spend $135 million over 25 years for improvements to Safeco Field requested by the Seattle Mariners.

The final vote was 5 to 4.

The team originally asked for $180 million in return for signing a new long-term lease to play in the stadium.

Mariners Executive Vice President Fred Riviera said the Mariners want to call Safeco Field home for the next 100 years.

"The Mariners will pay for roughly 83 percent of all operations, maintenance and capital improvements over the next 25 years with public funding taking care of the rest and we think it's a fair deal," said Riviera.

The money will come from the the state's lodging tax once the debt on CenturyLink Field is paid off in 2020.

The compromise brokered by Councilmembers Joe McDermott and Claudia Balducci would also spend approximately $600 million on affordable housing and homeless youth services. It would also spend $8 million to promote tourism.

But some are not satisfied.

"Where does our heart lie, with our sports or with our people?" asked Rev. Anja Helmon from Northlake Lutheran Church, representative with the Church Council of Greater Seattle.

After the funding is in place, the Mariners will still need to negotiate a new lease with the county.


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