Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Approves Financing Package for New Football Stadium

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Approves Financing Package for New Football Stadium

Article excerpt

YES:

Lewis Reed (aldermanic president), Dionne Flowers (Ward 2), Freeman Bosley (Ward 3), Sam Moore (Ward 4), Tammika Hubbard (Ward 5), Jack Coatar (Ward 7), Steve Conway (Ward 8), Ken Ortmann (Ward 9), Joseph Voller (Ward 10), Beth Murphy (Ward 13), Carol Howard (Ward 14), Donna Bringer (Ward 16), Joe Roddy (Ward 17), Marlene Davis (Ward 19), Antonio French (Ward 21), Joe Vaccaro (Ward 23), Lyda Krewson (Ward 28)

NO:

Sharon Tyus (Ward 1), Christine Ingrassia (Ward 6), Tom Villa (Ward 11), Megan Green (Ward 15), Terry Kennedy (Ward 18), Cara Spencer (Ward 20), Jeffrey Boyd (Ward 22), Scott Ogilvie (Ward 24), Shane Cohn (Ward 25), Chris Carter (Ward 27)

PRESENT:

Larry Arnowitz (Ward 12)

ST. LOUIS * Aldermen took a decisive step Friday in a quest to remain an "NFL city" by giving approval to fund construction of what would be the city's second football stadium in less than two decades.

Months of debate and dealing at City Hall ended with a vote of 17- 10 for final passage.

The debate moves from the dusty St. Louis aldermanic chambers to the posh hotel suites and executive offices of the NFL and its billionaire owners who will decide whether the St. Louis Rams can relocate to Los Angeles.

St. Louis aims to block that move. The team came to St. Louis in 1995 with a 20-year lease requiring the stadium be a "top-tier" facility superior to three-quarters of NFL venues in 2015 or the team could break the lease.

With the stadium far from top tier, state and local officials, led by St. Louis stadium task force chairmen David Peacock and Robert Blitz, have scrambled for most of the year to put together a financing package to build a soaring new outdoor facility on the city's north riverfront. They released a statement calling Friday's vote a "significant milestone."

"We now have more work to do to prepare our St. Louis stadium proposal for delivery ahead of the NFL's deadline of December 30," the statement says. "We recognize that our proposal will require extensive review before it is considered for approval by the NFL. We are confident that it will be well received."

The group spent months in court successfully invalidating a city ordinance requiring voter approval of money spent on new stadium construction, as well as cajoling support from the city's elected officials.

"We all know this has been a long, drawn-out process," said Alderman Tammika Hubbard, co-sponsor of the bill. "It hasn't been an ideal situation. We have been under the thumb of other entities, but we all stood and took the charge."

The city would finance $150 million of the overall $1.1 billion project. The rest of the funding would come from the state, the NFL and the team owner.

Friday's meeting lasted more than two hours and was interrupted by protesters singing special Christmas carols such as, "We want a new Board of Aldermen for Christmas. …

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