Private money sought to buy stadium raven Authority hopes team or sponsor will cover cost

October 24, 1997|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Thomas W. Waldron contributed to this article.

The Maryland Stadium Authority has put on hold plans to put a $253,000, four-ton raven on top of the football stadium downtown until private money can be raised to pay for it.

The authority last week approved a contract with a Rhode Island metal fabricator to construct a 40-foot-tall, black bird with red glowing eyes that was to be mounted on the southwest corner of the stadium.

It was to face outward during the week and rotate inward for games.

The contract was to be approved by the Board of Public Works on Wednesday, but was taken off the agenda at the last minute by the stadium authority.

Last week, stadium authority chairman John Moag said he hoped the team could contribute at least $50,000 to the project -- the amount by which the job exceeded initial estimates. Yesterday, Moag and stadium authority executive director Bruce Hoffman said they hope the team or a corporate sponsor can pay the whole bill.

"Our budget is tight. Until we get the funding, we can't go forward," Hoffman said at a stadium authority meeting.

Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said the team is still assessing the costs and benefits of the bird.

"The priority as we raise funds would be for fan-oriented programs first and to the extent the bird fits into that, we would support it. But the bird will come after what we can do for those various fan groups," Byrne said.

Hoffman said the team is talking to The Baltimore Sun about a corporate sponsorship of the bird, perhaps with the name of the newspaper appearing on the pedestal that supports the sculpture. The newspaper sponsors the clock over the scoreboard at Oriole Park.

"The Sun has traditionally supported the Ravens and the Orioles. We're certainly looking at all options at Ravens stadium. This is just one of several options we are exploring," said Sun spokeswoman Marcia Goldman.

Judi Scioli, a spokeswoman for Gov. Parris N. Glendening, said: "It is our understanding that that item is to be financed privately. It is not something that would be paid for with public funds."

Pub Date: 10/24/97

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