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Bonds OK'd to fund stadium

LAWRENCEVILLE - Financing for Gwinnett's planned baseball stadium was approved Tuesday.

Officials agreed to sell $33 million in revenue bonds for the project, expected to be under way in about a month and completed in time for a triple-A Gwinnett Braves team to play in April 2009.

"We're excited about this," said Commissioner Bert Nasuti, who led the effort for a minor-league stadium. He said he recently visited a Durham, N.C., stadium to investigate the design.

Nasuti described the funding plan for the stadium as similar to the Arena at Gwinnett Center, but instead of using hotel-motel taxes, the county imposed a car rental tax to back the bonds. The debt will also be paid with a $1 per ticket fee, parking charges and, potentially, the selling of naming rights.

In addition to the revenue bonds, commissioners agreed to pay $7 million in recreation funds for the construction. Earlier this year, they approved a $5 million purchase of land for the stadium along Buford Drive, south of the Mall of Georgia near Rock Springs Road.