Santa Clara to consider stadium negotiation

January 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A crucial meeting over the future of the San Francisco 49ers happened on Tuesday night.

The Santa Clara City Council was deciding, once and for all, whether to go forward with plans to build a new stadium for the team.

The meeting started at around 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday. But even though the council hasn't made a final decision, they are expected to follow staff recommendations and go forward with negotiations.

In Santa Clara there are very few people who are still undecided about the possibility of a new 49er stadium on Great America's over flow parking lot.

The city manager recommended tonight that the city and the team formally enter into negotiations on the $916 million dollar deal.

For the plan to work though, $136 million must come from Santa Clara's redevelopment agency.

"We have run the redevelopment agency dry and the 136 million is the absolute max the city of Santa Clara can come up with," said deputy city manager Carol McCarthy.

Eight nearby hotels will pay a hotel tax -- which brings the number the city is capable of contributing to $171 million dollars.

"It doesn't make any sense for a city of 115 thousand to be giving a 136 million dollar subsidy to a billionaire who can afford to build his own stadium," said Byron Fleck from

Several citizens groups oppose the idea, wanting instead to use the money for public services.

They sat quietly in a room, dominated by those in red, where the lead voice came from 49er owners, who insisted the $51 million dollar financial shortfall from what they originally wanted from the city hasn't changed their minds.

"We are confident we can bridge that gap and overcome any challenges the city of Santa Clara has raised tonight," said San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York.

But even if negotiations move forward tonight, the biggest hurdle could be Cedar Fair, which owns Great America.

They currently lease the land the proposed site sits on and they have a list of non-negotiables of their own.

"The amusement park cannot operate on game days so we'd need to be shut down so we need to be compensated for that loss of revenue," said Cedar Fair attorney Ivor Samson.

Cedar Fair also wants control of all parking lots and structures. They also want all of the revenue generated by those lots, on game days, non game days, and special events.

As for this meeting, if the council votes yes, next week, they'll create a ballot measure so voters can make the final decision on the stadium.