Inglewood to consider approving plan for LA-area NFL stadium

Thomas: Rams Don't Plan to Deal Bradford
Thomas: Rams Don't Plan to Deal Bradford

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) -- The Inglewood City Council could decide Tuesday to approve plans to build an NFL stadium in the Los Angeles suburb, fast-tracking a $2 billion project in a sweepstakes that has seen similar proposals raise - and dash - hopes in surrounding cities.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to adopt a new redevelopment plan that includes an 80,000-seat stadium without calling a public vote, effectively kickstarting construction and sidestepping lengthy environmental review of issues such as noise, traffic and air pollution.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of the Hollywood Park Land Co. development group that is promoting the project, which could bring the NFL back to the Los Angeles area for the first time in 20 years.

New urgency came to the issue last week with the announcement that the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers are planning a shared stadium in suburban Carson if they don't get their current hometowns to cough up enough money to replace their aging stadiums. Another stadium plan remains alive for downtown Los Angeles, but has no team attached.

Tuesday's Inglewood vote would add the 60-acre stadium to a 2009 plan to redevelop the former Hollywood Park racetrack site with homes, offices, stores, parks and open space, a hotel and a casino.

Stadium proponents say it is important to approve the concept as soon as possible to avoid delays in the redevelopment that already is underway. They would like construction to start by year's end to have a venue ready for the 2018 football season.

The council has a second option of putting the stadium to a public vote by calling for a special election.

A Feb. 20 consultants' report to the city manager backing the stadium notes that the developer, not the public, will pay the cost of building the stadium and says the plan would allow the city - once home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings before they moved to Los Angeles - "to continue its legacy of providing the region with world-class sports and entertainment."

The consultants also conclude that no new environmental impact reports - which are costly and often take months or even years - would be necessary.

The review also says the stadium would bring the city more than 10,000 jobs and tens of millions of dollars a year in new tax revenue.