- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 1, 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission unveiled a plan Wednesday that calls for $124 million in improvements to the Edward Jones Dome in hopes of making sure the city doesn’t lose another NFL team.

The commission had faced a Wednesday deadline to deliver the plan to the St. Louis Rams, which leases the dome.

The lease requires the dome to be “first tier,” or among the top 25 percent of all NFL stadiums in several categories. If not, the Rams can break the lease after the 2014 season and potentially move. Owner Stan Kroenke is a Missouri native, but has been non-committal about staying in St. Louis.

With Los Angeles organizers actively seeking a team, St. Louis fans are worried the Rams might leave, just like the Cardinals did after the 1987 season.

“There are a lot of people who say this can’t be like Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium,” CVC director Kathleen Ratcliffe said. “We’re confident this proposal meets the requirement of first tier.”

Messages left with a spokesman for Kroenke were not returned. The Rams confirmed they had received the proposal.

“The lease provides certain terms, a timeline and a process for this matter,” said Kevin Demoff, the team’s executive vice president of football operations and COO. “We are reviewing the proposal and look forward to responding accordingly.”

Highlights of the plan include:

_Adding a 96-foot-long, 27-foot-tall scoreboard over the center of the field, nearly as large as the one at Cowboys Stadium in Texas.

_Adding 1,500 club seats, along with new club lounges.

_New windows along the length of the field on both sides, creating more natural light.

_Adding a 50,000-square-foot attached building that would include a “Geek Suite” area for electronics buffs and fantasy football fanciers.

_Developing a massive courtyard between the dome and the adjoining convention center that would be “almost like tailgating but without the cars,” Ratcliffe said.

_Improvements to concessions and concourses.

Ratcliffe said the plan calls for the Rams to pay for 52 percent of the upgrades. That would leave taxpayers to pay the rest, an estimated $60 million.

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