The Santa Clara City Council has approved spending $10 million in construction preparation for the San Francisco 49er's new stadium.
The move is not the final nail in the coffin of San Francisco's hopes to keep the team in the City, but it is close, according to the team.
The decision was made Tuesday evening in a unanimous 7-0 vote. Members also unanimously approved multiple personnel and procedural matters related to the stadium. They were able to move the money because voters in their city approved the idea to build a stadium.
The approved work is set to begin in January. It will include basic prep work on the 15-acre site next to Great America. All of the utilities in the area such as storm drains, sewers, and electric and water lines will be rerouted, and accessibility features like roads to the stadium site and sidewalks will be added.City leaders said Tuesday, even if the deal to bring the team south falls apart, the work on the property will still be beneficial to the city because another company would be able to move in and build without delay.
The budget for the stadium is projected at nearly $1 billion and real construction of the structure is expected to begin in 2013.
"This is a really exciting move, though it doesn't sound like very exciting work to prepare the site and move utilities and parking, It's really a great movement forward for our stadium." City Council member Lisa Gilmor told SF Gate.
Despite the council's approval, critics of the stadium say the city cannot afford to spend $10 million clearing the area when there is still speculation that the proposed 68,500-seat stadium will never be built.