Santa Clara voters to decide future of 49ers stadium

June 8, 2010 10:59:47 PM PDT
Voters in Santa Clara go to the polls today to help decide the future of the 49ers football franchise. The issue is whether to spend millions in city money to help build the team a new stadium and lure them to the South Bay.

It is expected that no more than 25,000 city residents will vote in the special election. They will decide upon one of the most-closely watched issues in the Bay Area -- Measure J -- whether or not to build a new 49ers NFL stadium.

Political lawn signs about the Santa Clara measure have been pushing for both sides, but the pro-stadium campaign has definitely had the biggest financial-backing. The 49ers have bankrolled the bulk of the $3.5 million spent, much of it on TV and radio ads, campaigning residents to vote for a new 68,000 seat stadium next to the Great America amusement park.

The loosely-organized opposition has spent about $20,000. Recent polls indicate the vote on the $937 million project will be close, but lean in favor of building it.

While many have expressed concern over the massive cost, stadium supporters believe it will generate hundreds of millions in economic benefits, including jobs and revitalizing local businesses.

Opponents say this costly project will make the city financially vulnerable, as well as negatively impact traffic, parking, noise and pollution around the stadium. The deal between the city and the 49ers calls for a $114 million package of public contributions, including $42 million in redevelopment money and a special new guest tax at Santa Clara hotels.

The agreement also requires the team to cover any construction cost overruns. If Measure J passes, the stadium is scheduled to built and ready for the 2014 NFL season.


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