Stadium negotiations continue day before vote

Monday, June 6, 2005

NEW YORK -- Negotiations on a controversial proposal to build a $2 billion stadium that is part of the city's bid to play host to the 2012 Summer Olympics continued on Sunday, with only one day to go before a rescheduled vote on the project. The Public Authorities Control Board's vote on $300 million in state funding for the West Side Stadium was postponed for a second time Friday and rescheduled for today.

The board consists of representatives appointed by Gov. George Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Pataki is a proponent of the stadium along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while the other two have yet to sign off on the state's financial role in the development.

Bloomberg says the stadium, on mid-Manhattan's West Side, would be an opportunity for economic development, but opponents believe it would be a waste of taxpayer money at a time when the city is dealing with problems such as crime and crowded schools.

Silver also is concerned that the project's will affect the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan.

"My concern is the future of downtown, the future of ground zero, the 24 million square feet of commercial space that are part of the West Side complex and how that competes with the redevelopment of downtown," Silver said after ducking out of an awards breakfast Sunday for a private meeting with the mayor.

Asked about Silver's comments, Bloomberg said: "I will do everything I can to rebuild lower Manhattan but I also have a responsibility for other parts of the city."

Monday's vote comes on the same day an International Olympic Committee evaluation of the city's bid for the games becomes public. The 114 voting IOC members will select a 2012 host city on July 6, choosing from among New York, Paris, London, Moscow or Madrid.

The chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee has warned state lawmakers that New York City would lose any chance to host the 2012 Summer Olympics if officials don't soon approve construction of the West Side stadium, which also would serve as a home for the New York Jets.

Associated Press writer Pat Milton contributed to this report.

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