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Cities Vying for NFL Take Cases to Public

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Times Staff Writer

Two weeks before NFL meetings that are expected to narrow the field of contending stadium concepts in the Los Angeles area, there has been a flurry of activity concerning at least two of the sites.

The Pasadena City Council is considering whether to certify an environmental impact report on a reconfigured Rose Bowl, an essential step in courting the NFL.

A public hearing drew more than 200 people, many of whom came to voice their support or objections to the notion of turning the 83-year-old stadium into a state-of-the-art NFL venue.

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“I came down here to hear the real proposal, hear the arguments for and against, and try to make some sense of it all,” said Raphael Bostic, a Pasadena resident and USC professor who said he seldom attends city council meetings. “There’s drama on both sides.”

At a news conference today Anaheim officials will make their pitch for a state-of-the-art football stadium in the so-called Platinum Triangle. They will present a report highlighting the city’s strengths and why it should be home to a new 70,000-seat football venue next to Angel Stadium.

The NFL has made clear its interest in returning to the L.A. area, and the four sites league executives have identified as candidates are the Rose Bowl, Coliseum, Anaheim and Carson.

Neil Glat, heading the site-evaluation process for the league, said owners at the May 24-25 league meetings in Washington will be presented with the information they need to choose a site. How soon the choice will be made is unclear; it is not unusual for such decisions to be delayed for months.

In the ever-changing stadium derby, the Coliseum is the apparent front-runner and Monday reasserted its belief that it is the leading contender. Bill Chadwick, head of the Coliseum Commission, the agency that oversees the Exposition Park grounds on which the structure sits, said, “I don’t see any rational, logical, thinking business person choosing any of the other sites over the Coliseum. I don’t get it.”

The Coliseum, which lost out to Houston in 1999 when the NFL added a 32nd team, already has an approved design and environmental impact report. The commission and the league are working to finalize details of a deal.

In addition to deciding whether to certify its environmental report, the Pasadena City Council will vote in the coming days whether to approve the parameters of deal that would be proposed to the NFL.

The most vocal objections to the concept are historic preservationists and neighborhood groups, especially those who live in the area around the stadium.

“It’s an intrusion in a peaceful part of town,” said Joanne Topol, who lives just east of the Rose Bowl.

But City Councilman Steve Madison, who represents the area surrounding the stadium, pointed out the Rose Bowl is losing about $2 million a year and in the coming years will be in need of major improvements. He said it appears the NFL could help solve that.

“The dilemma we have is how does a town of our size maintain an aging football stadium?” he said. “We’d be derelict in our duties to not seriously consider the NFL.”

Times staff writer Alan Abrahamson contributed to this report.


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