CRA takes step to lure NFL to L.A.

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsThe vote Thursday, as well as others by various agencies over the last two weeks, involve plans for building an $800 million, 67,000-seat stadium inside the walls of the 83-year-old Coliseum. “We are very hopeful,” said Pat Lynch, general manager of the Coliseum Commission. “This has been a difficult negotiation, on both sides. “The NFL is not used to dealing with a situation where they will pay everything – $800 million for a new stadium and taxes as well. They’re more used to getting money.” Lynch said he is also encouraged by early indications from league officials who already have planned trips to Los Angeles to review the plans. Lynch said the CRA’s approval sent an important message to the NFL. Setting the stage for the City Council to sign off today on Los Angeles’ NFL bid, the Community Redevelopment Agency on Thursday approved a $25 million improvement program at the Memorial Coliseum – if professional football returns to the city. The CRA’s vote came five days before National Football League owners are set to possibly decide whether Los Angeles or Anaheim will host a team in Southern California. “The city has shown that it is doing all it can to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles,” said Councilman Bernard Parks, who chairs the council’s Ad Hoc Stadium Committee, which signed off on architectural and signage designs and an alcohol-sales policy for the Coliseum. The CRA committed $25 million for a series of infrastructure projects around the Coliseum, including $4 million for improvements on Martin Luther King Boulevard, Vermont Street and Figueroa Avenue; and $4 million for lighting in Exposition Park. “This is a significant symbol to the NFL,” Lynch said. “In terms of the overall project, this is not a great deal of money, but it shows the city’s commitment to wanting to improve Exposition Park.” While Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city leaders have said there will be no public money involved in bringing football back to the city, the CRA payment is viewed as an investment for improvements around the Coliseum area that will be repaid with higher property taxes generated in the future. The CRA board also approved a long-term plan that is allowed under AB 2805, sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, that would extend the redevelopment project for an additional 12 years. That could make an additional $250 million available for improvements. Among the projects that would be considered in the long term include parking structures, development of a light rail station, building playing fields and various street improvements. CRA commissioners also said they wanted to look at developing a job-training program to take advantage of the work that will be done in and around the Coliseum if the NFL returns. “One of the only good things that a lot of the local folks are going to get out of this are jobs,” Commissioner Madeline Janis-Aparicio said. “It seems like we need to put some more thought and money into it to make sure that people are trained to get into apprentice programs or other work at the Coliseum. “I think we have to hold ourselves to a high standard if we are going to convince the public of this need.” On a related matter, Parks said he is not concerned about the announcement the NFL had hired a renowned architect to look at designing a stadium at the Anaheim site. “That’s something that’s strictly an NFL decision,” Parks said. “It doesn’t affect our negotiations with them at all.” (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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