Santa Clara Council approves stadium deal

June 3, 2009 12:45:13 PM PDT
A funding plan to build a 49ers stadium in Santa Clara is now headed to the voters after clearing a giant hurdle. The city council moved the deal forward after a heated marathon session.

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After nearly two years of negotiations, Tuesday night's decision-making was a long affair, allowing for nearly a hundred people to make public comments, and then finally around 1:30 a.m. council approved a 49ers stadium deal.

Some supporters are calling this a Santa Clara stimulus package.

City council listened to more than six hours of detailed financial presentations and comments from both supporters and opponents and in the end voted 5-2 to approve a financial term sheet. The terms hold the 49ers responsible for constructing and operating the new $937 million stadium next to the Great America amusement park.

Santa Clara residents still need to vote whether to approve the use of $114 million of public money to finance the venture. The city will not draw from the general fund, it will not raise taxes, and the 49ers will pay for any cost overruns. The team says residents will also benefit in other ways.

"The 49ers have always been a strong presence in the community through there foundation work which contributes millions of dollars to programs, not only in Santa Clara, but throughout the region," said Pete Hillan, 49ers spokesperson.

According to the term sheet, the city would contribute $114 million to the project; $42 million will come from redevelopment funds, $35 million from a new hotel tax. The 49ers and the NFL would make up the remaining $800 million.

Now that council has passed the financial term sheet, an environmental impact study must be done and city staff will start working on a ballot measure for 2010. If voter approval is reached, stadium construction would begin in 2012, with the opening expected for the 2014 football season.

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