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New Mets stadium to be reminiscent of Ebbets Field

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NEW YORK -- New York Mets officials stirred up the past on Thursday when they unveiled a stadium design reminiscent of Ebbets Field, the storied home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

One day after the City Council approved several key aspects of an $800 million stadium for the Yankees, Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mets owner Fred Wilpon announced plans at Shea Stadium for a new Mets home to be built in the parking lot of the existing ballpark.

Wilpon, a Brooklyn native, has long desired a new home for his team that evokes memories of the glory days of the Dodgers, who moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Eight years ago, Wilpon unveiled a design for an Ebbets Field-type ballpark for the Mets, but it wasn't until last summer that city officials and the team agreed on a plan to replace Shea Stadium.

"This is a historic and rather emotional occasion," Wilpon said as he recalled visiting Ebbets Field with his father as a young boy. He said predicted the new facility would be a "world class ballpark that, through its unique design, links the past and the future."

Although the planned stadium still requires regulatory approval, Mets officials hope to put their team on a new field by 2009 -- the same year the Yankees expect to be playing in a new home in the Bronx.

The new ballpark in Queens will have a capacity of 45,000, down from the current 57,333. The seats will be a little wider and provide more leg room. Also, there will be more luxury suites, rest rooms and restaurants.

The Mets are paying $550 million for the stadium and the city is expected to kick in $90 million in capital funds, officials said. The state will provide $75 million for infrastructure improvements around the stadium.

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