Angelenos got an opportunity to share what’s on their minds regarding the proposed development of an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles.
“I got a cool name for the team," Donnie Johnson of Altadena boasted. "But I’m not gonna tell you guys right now."
Johnson's a little early with the team name suggestions – but he’s excited about the prospect of a new pro football stadium near Staples Center.
For several hours, executives with AEG and other developers greeted people like Johnson as they gazed at several renderings of what the NFL stadium project would look like. They hosted an informal hearing last night at the L.A. Convention Center.
It wasn’t town hall style – participants had to submit their comments on paper. Officials consider the meeting a very important first step in the environmental review process.
Ted Tanner is an AEG executive. “We have talked about the possibility... depending on how this goes and the level of questions, concerns raised... that we might have some additional informal workshops like this," Tanner said. "So we take these comments and there’ll probably be many, many issues and concerns that will be raised, and we will analyze and respond to all of them.”
L.A. carpenter Jata Goldsberry said he likes the idea that the project could generate lots of work.
“There’s a lot of people that want to work," said Goldsberry. "So it’s opening up an opportunity for people to work at an actual stadium and building a stadium too at the same time, so it’s putting a lot of money in our community.”
Not everyone sees it that way. Members of the Bus Riders Union protested outside the hearing.
Gabriel Strachota is one of the organizers. “We’re very concerned with the impact this will have, especially on the neighborhoods downtown – the driving up of rents and gentrification of the area and pushing out of communities who have lived here for quite a long time.”
Developers said the “scoping meeting” begins a lengthy environmental review process.
The proposed NFL stadium project carries a price tag of more than a billion dollars. L.A. hasn’t been home to a pro football team since the mid-1990s, when the Raiders returned to Oakland.