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St. Louis Rams received publicly funded dome proposal

The agency that runs the Edward Jones Dome has offered the St. Louis Rams a sweeter deal to renovate the facility in return for the team waiving a clause that allows it to relocate in the coming years, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Saturday.

The dome's operator, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, secretly offered the Rams $48 million in publicly funded improvements to the facility with no private contributions required, according to documents the commission handed over the newspaper.

The Rams can terminate their lease of the dome if it isn't a "first-tier" facility, or in the top three-quarters of NFL stadiums, by 2015. The clause has led to a series of proposals and counterproposals by the team and the commission over the past six months.

The newly released proposal would build a 947-space parking structure with all of the revenue going to the Rams on game days. It would also shorten the end of the team's $250,000-per-year lease by five years to 2020.

In February, the commission publicly presented a proposal to the Rams in which the team and the commission would split the costs of a $124 million renovation of the dome.

However, days earlier out of public view, the commission made the publicly funded proposal to the Rams, according to the Post-Dispatch. The commission was later ordered to turn over documents related to the proposal to the newspaper.

The two sides have yet to come to an agreement after a series of proposals. They face a Friday deadline to strike a deal or enter binding arbitration. The Rams will be able to terminate the lease if the commission rejects the arbitration ruling.

The Rams have played in the dome since it opened in 1995, the team's first season in St. Louis.

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