The Santa Clara City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to start of ground clearing work at the proposed site for the San Francisco 49ers new stadium this January, the first real steps taken to getting this stadium built for the Niners.
"This is really an exciting move, though it doesn't sound like very exciting work to prepare the site and move utilities and parking," said City Councilmember Lisa Gillmor. "It's really a great movement forward for our stadium."
The proposed job includes the clearing of a parking lot next to Great America amusement park, the 15-acre site of the proposed 68,500-seat stadium, along with it's nearly $1 billion price tag. All utilities in and around the parking lot will be redirected, such as storm drains, sewers, and electric and water lines. There also will be a number of additions as well, such as sidewalks and additional parking spaces. as well as a access road on the south side of the Niners training facility across the street.
Many critics feel that Santa Clara is in no shape financially to be bringing in a billion dollar stadium, citing the fact that they borrowed $6 million of the 10 necessary to start this project from the Niners themselves, sparking new debates over the cost-effectiveness of building this stadium.
"Why are we borrowing money when our city is so cash-strapped that we have employee furlough days every month, library cutbacks, reduction in staff wages, etc.?" Said Bill Bailey, the treasurer of Santa Clara Plays Fair, a grassroots group that opposes the stadium.
Last June, Santa Clara voted in a measure that gives $114 million in public funds to the building of the stadium, including $40 million in redevelopment funds to build the stadium, which is slated to open in 2015. The rest get paid through the city's bonds, electric utility, and an increased hotel tax; though the approximately $990 million dollars left to complete it's construction will take more than that to complete.