The plan to put a pro football stadium in Inglewood took its first big step forward Monday when organizers submitted more than 20,000 signatures for an initiative petition.
That’s more than twice as many as needed to put a measure on the ballot that would rezone Hollywood Park to include the stadium. The measure could be up for a vote by mid-year.
The signatures, delivered in more than 40 boxes to Inglewood City Hall on Monday morning, were collected in just the three weeks since St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke and Hollywood Park developers Stockbridge Capital and Wilson Meany unveiled their stadium plans. A group the stadium team has funded -- Citizens for Revitalizing the City of Champions -- has held town hall meetings and hit civic events across the city of 110,000 to collect signatures.
“This outpouring of support from Inglewood residents is overwhelming and unprecedented, especially when you consider the signature-gathering effort began less than three weeks ago,” said Gerard McCallum, a community liaison with Hollywood Park Land Co.
“The people of Inglewood are sending a clear and powerful message that this project is vital for our city’s future,” he said.
The measure would update the redevelopment plan for the 238-acre site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack to add 60 acres, an 80,000-seat NFL-caliber football stadium, a performing arts center and additional office and retail space. Hollywood Park and Inglewood officials say no public money will be spent upfront on the project -- though $60 million for roads and sewers will be reimbursed from tax proceeds eventually -- and they promise thousands of new jobs on the site.
To qualify for the ballot, a local initiative needs valid signatures from at least 15% of registered voters -- 8,400 in Inglewood’s case, according to the petition’s backers. County election officials now have 30 days to verify the signatures; if enough qualify, the initiative will go to Inglewood’s City Council. A special election could take place by summer.
By running the changes through an initiative, instead of through the city’s traditional planning process, developers would avoid the need for time-consuming, costly and potentially legally-risky environmental review. And if the stadium hopes to lure an NFL tenant -- be it Kroenke’s Rams or some other team -- time is of the essence.
While the NFL has said no teams will move in the off-season that begins after Sunday’s Super Bowl, the window for teams to request relocation after next season is now less than a year away. Having a stadium under construction would bolster any L.A. bid. Hollywood Park officials have said they aim to start work on Inglewood stadium in December, with or without a team on board.
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