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Florida Marlins

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Bonds done for Marlins stadium, construction setBy TIM REYNOLDS â€" 4 hours agoMIAMI (AP) — Construction has begun for the long-awaited Florida Marlins ballpark.Only hours after the final arrangements were completed for the bonds that will help pay for the 37,000-seat retractable-roof stadium, crews arrived Wednesday morning at the former Orange Bowl site to begin preparations for the project.Miami-Dade County commissioners gave final approval to the financing terms around 1:10 a.m.

Workers began grading the area shortly after 7 a.m., Marlins president David Samson said, even pulling out his cell phone to display some photos of the job."It's time to get this building done," Samson said.A formal groundbreaking is scheduled for July 18.

The Marlins plan to move into the new stadium in time for the 2012 season.The Marlins have tried for years to get their own stadium, one with a retractable roof.

Since their inception in 1993, they've shared a building with the Miami Dolphins, and ownership groups have long blamed the frequent threat of rain for poor ticket sales.The bonds for the project were a thorny issue, though.

The project was planned with hopes that it would be financed in part through more than $300 million in bond sales backed by tourism taxes.

There was a $6 million shortfall, which the Marlins ultimately agreed to cover.Without the financing being completed, no work would have started, Samson said."There are no hurdles," Samson said.

"There's nothing left."Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press.

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