Will the proposed downtown stadium site be the last chance for the Chargers to stay in San Diego? Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani believes that it is.
The San Diego Stadium Coalition held a town hall meeting Wednesday in order for the public to address specific concerns to Fabiani. "The San Diego Chargers have done everything possible to get a stadium deal done," said Fabiani.
But not everyone is happy about the proposed stadium. Unlike the previous plan that involved the development around the Qualcomm site in Mission Valley, the area around the downtown site is not quite large enough for private development, which would have helped to fund the stadium. Because of this, some taxpayer dollars will be needed to finance it. In a tough economy, and within a city that has had severe financial difficulties, some citizens find the proposal a tough pill to swallow. "My concern is all of the traffic and the crowds that it will bring," said Martin Balfour. Balfour, 62, is a resident of the East Village, and lives just blocks from the proposed site. "I'm also not convinced that the taxpayers should have to help pay for it," adds Balfour. "The city is already in financial trouble, they're cutting police jobs, firemen, teachers. Should a new football stadium be our priority? I don't feel that it should be."
Many San Diegans are very excited at the prospect of a new stadium. "I think that it's a great thing for the city of San Diego," said 42 year-old Matthew Seller of Little Italy. "A new stadium will be a huge money-maker for the city with super bowls and the crowds that it will draw. Even if taxpayers have to chip in, it seems like a good return on our money. I see it as an investment."
Before the stadium plans can move forward, there is a critical study that must be commissioned by the Centre City Development Corporation, or CCDC. The San Diego City Council will vote on the proposal to increase the spending cap of the CCDC on June 22. The study is estimated to cost the city $500,000. Fabiani stressed the importance of this study, calling it a 'last chance' for the stadium plan, and possibly for the Chargers future in San Diego.