Coliseum Plan is Solid
Your Guest Opinion by Larry Walsh of the South Park Economic Development Corp. (“L.A. Deserves a Viable Stadium Plan,” March 17) had the correct byline, but unfortunately, the wrong content.
Despite the opinion of some pundits, whose motivations remain unclear to many of us, the most viable venue for the return of professional football to Los Angeles is a completely remodeled Los Angeles Coliseum.
I disagree strongly with Mr. Walsh’s suggestion that we abandon the past. Los Angeles has too few cultural facilities in which we share positive collective memories and around which we can fashion a unified city. The Coliseum is one of, if not the, most substantial examples of such a facility. (City Hall, Griffith Park, the Hollywood sign, Watts Towers, and Angels Flight are others.) Such facilities are very important to our shared sense of cultural definition.
Also not insignificant is the total political consensus which has come together behind the New Coliseum plan. The facility is in place and requires no general or community plan modifications.
Contrary to Mr. Walsh’s assertions, the Coliseum has ample parking, with 20,000 spaces available within Exposition and University Park. The proposed remodeling of the Coliseum will provide a state-of-the-art professional football venue which will be highly adaptable for USC games, soccer, concerts and other major events.
On the other hand, the South Park proposal, which Mr. Walsh promotes, is fraught with difficulty. Discussions with planning officials here in Los Angeles attest to a lengthy and highly contestable planning process involving general and community plan amendments. The property (a cluster of already developed city blocks in the downtown area) will be exceedingly expensive to accumulate adding cost, time and uncertainty to the proposal.
With respect to financing, the New Coliseum is by far the clear choice. The property is there, the parking is there, the infrastructure is there, and the planning issues are minimal. All of these factors reduce cost.
The notion that the New Coliseum will entail “public” financing while other proposals will be “privately” financed is both incorrect and ethereal. The NFL has expressed direct concern over the level of owner financing of the physical facility in which a new football franchise will be housed. They want to see public-sector support.
This concern will carry to any proposal put forward. The Coliseum already goes far to meet this concern. The Coliseum financing plan includes a very substantial private-sector component, while bringing the financing equation closer to the NFL’s expressed desire than any other proposal can or will via its already substantial public-sector investment.
JOHN E. MOLLOY
Community Redevelopment Agency