The Chargers now officially have the support of San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders.
Sanders, in his State of the City address Wednesday, announced that a ballot measure for a new Chargers stadium can be ready as early as the 2012 election, if the City and the Chargers can come to an agreement.
But Sanders also said that he will not put the Chargers’ interest ahead of the taxpayers.
“If there is a deal to be made in which both the taxpayers and the Chargers come out a winner, this is the City that can find it,” Sanders said. “But this process will take time, and there’s no guarantee of its outcome. My job is to make sure that the taxpayers’ interests are represented and the risks are fully disclosed. And if a deal can be struck, it will go before the voters as soon as 2012 for their verdict.”
It was reported in November that Sanders and team president Dean Spanos have begun talks about the viability of a stadium adjacent to Petco Park.
Wednesday, Sanders framed the new stadium as part of the City’s redevelopment of downtown San Diego.
“The current focus is on using a stadium as a catalyst to extend redevelopment east of downtown, in the same way that Petco Park brought $1.7 billion in construction and economic activity to East Village,” Sanders said.
The possibility of that happening received a huge boost Wednesday, when the Budget/Finance and Administration Committee of the Centre City Development Corp.—the agency put in charge of downtown redevelopment—voted to approve the beginning of a process that would raise the cap on funds used for downtown development.
Under current restrictions, the CCDC can spend up to $3 billion to rebuild and get rid of blight in San Diego. However, that money is supposed to last until 2043 and the CCDC expects to run out of cash by 2023 or 2024.
The last day or two have been important in the long and what should be arduous journey to build a new stadium in San Diego.
However, the Chargers have already won two huge victories, even before Sunday’s playoff game against the Jets: the support of both the CCDC and the mayor.
“It’s no secret that (the Chargers) could leave San Diego for another city, virtually any time they choose,” Sanders said in his speech. “These two issues, whether they get a new stadium and whether they stay in San Diego, have hung over this City for too long. They need to be resolved, one way or another.”
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