The prospect of the San Francisco 49ers moving to Santa Clara is looking brighter after the City Council met Tuesday night to set a date to release the terms of their agreement to the public and to decide whether to send the project to the 2010 ballot.
Lisa Lang, spokeswoman for the football team, said the project has been a long collaboration between the team and the city.
"They've worked very hard to get to the point where we are today," Lang said.
Santa Clara Deputy City Manager Carol McCarthy said the negotiating parties are holding a public meeting on June 2 to review the terms of the proposed stadium deal and possibly take action on the term sheet, a document detailing the specifics of a stadium arrangement between the two parties, including financing.
The meeting will also serve as an opportunity for public comment, McCarthy said, and the term sheet will be released to the public a few days prior to the meeting.
"It was a milestone in the sense that the completion ... represents that the team and the city have completed negotiations at least on a conceptual framework for an agreement to go forward," Mayor Patricia Mahan said.
If council members approve, the term sheet will go forward to the March 2010 election ballot where its fate will rest in the hands of Santa Clara residents.
In the meantime, an environmental impact report is in progress to address and mitigate issues such as traffic, air and land use and other impacts the project could possibly have on the environment. If the term sheet is approved, McCarthy said the next step for the city would be to develop a Disposition and Development Agreement, a legal contract that outlines the responsibility of the parties involved, in addition to finances.
McCarthy likened the nearly two-year negotiations process to buying real estate. The $900 million project is the city's largest yet, McCarthy said. And before the team can finally move to a lot next to the Great America amusement park, issues such as financing, land lease payments and cost overruns during the construction period still need to be ironed out.
Santa Clara officials have stipulated a stadium should not impact tax rates, or draw money from the general fund. McCarthy speculated funding would be contributed by the team, the National Football League and stadium authority among other entities.
In the long run, McCarthy said, the 49ers will help give an economic boost to local businesses and hotels and also potentially help create new jobs.
Aside from the dedicated few who have voiced their opposition to the project at council meetings, Mahan said public response has been overwhelmingly favorable.
"They ask when are they coming?" she said.