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Gov. signs legislation for new stadium

October 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a move some hope will lure an NFL franchise to the region, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-California, signed legislation giving the go-ahead to begin construction on a proposed 75,000-seat stadium.The bill exempts the project from state environmental laws and allows construction in the City of Industry to move forward. It nullifies a lawsuit filed by the neighboring city of Walnut over the proposed stadium's environmental impact report.

"Allowing this lawsuit to proceed would delay new jobs and it would delay the chance for Los Angeles to have a football stadium and have a football team here," said Schwarzenegger.

The governor said he signed the environmental exemption bill last week, but saved the announcement for a press conference at the proposed site on Thursday.

Majestic Realty Co., which helped develop Staples Center in downtown L.A., is heading the stadium project. According to the developer, the energy-efficient stadium will create more than 18,000 jobs and pump about $760 million into the local economy every year.

"This is a great morning for the four counties - Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange County - not just because of new jobs, but because we're going to bring a pro football team back," said Ed Roski Jr., the owner of Majestic Realty Co. "We can't wait to start building the first-ever, state-of-the-art green NFL building."

So far, no NFL team has signed on to the new stadium. The developer reportedly plans to approach seven to eight teams, including the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.

Roski wants a commitment from a team before construction brings, which could be as early as 2010. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

About a dozen protestors showed up across the street from the proposed 600-acre stadium site Thursday, holding signs saying "No Stadium." Walnut residents have mixed opinions on the stadium being built in the area.

"It's good and bad," said Michael Luther, a Walnut resident. "I think we do definitely need a football team here, but, you know, traffic is already bad enough going up and down the freeway."

"When people say this is bad for the environment and all that other stuff over there, I'd have to say that with this stadium being built, I'd rather see an ascetically beautiful building that brings jobs to the community rather than just a bunch of industry," said Rudy Chavarria Jr., a Walnut resident. "So I'm all for it."

According to Majestic Realty, the $800 million stadium will be paid for through private funds.


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