Marlins Ballpark Plan Advances

Florida Marlins execs may be nearing the end of their quest to build a new ballpark thanks to a court ruling that could free up the cash needed for the project.

The Marlins have been fighting a legal battle that has blocked construction of a $515 million, 37,000-seat stadium – part of a $3 billion Miami development – that the team has wanted to build for nearly 10 years, according to the Miami Herald.

“This is the one we’ve been waiting for,” Marlins President David Samson told the paper. “It’s a complete victory. It took a long time.”

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jeri Beth Cohen ruled Sept. 9 that a new ballpark funded primarily with tax dollars is a benefit to the public.

Cohen had reportedly tossed six of seven lawsuits filed by a local businessman that claim the use of $395 million in tax dollars to build a private entity doesn’t serve the public, the paper said.

Marlins officials are reportedly in the process of hiring engineers and architects in hopes of breaking ground by the end of this year. The team’s goal is to be in its new stadium by opening day 2011 after its lease at Dolphins Stadium ends, the Herald said.