Perhaps spurred by the recent success of the teams, a referendums to fund a new stadium for the Denver Broncos passed and one for the San Diego Padres appeared to be well on its way to being approved by the voting public Wednesday morning.
"Tonight is a great night for the citizens of this region," said Pat Bowlen, owner of the Super Bowl champion Broncos, as early returns in the six-county Denver metropolitan area indicated a narrow victory to Referendum 4A. With 34 percent of the precincts reporting, yes votes numbered 51 percent.
In San Diego, where the Padres appeared in the World Series for the first time in 14 years, it appears Proposition C will easily be approved. According to a San Diego County elections spokeswoman, 26,002 voters, or 57.52 percent, had approved the proposal for a tax increase to fund a stadium project, with approximately 60 percent of the total vote tabulated as of 11:15 p.m. EST.
Referendum 4A was on the ballot 10 months after the Broncos ended years of frustration and finally won a Super Bowl. The referendum extends to 2012 a one-cent-per-$10 sales tax originally imposed to finance Coors Field for the Colorado Rockies.
The Colorado proposal is expected to generate $270 million, with the Broncos paying the remaining cost of the new stadium. A guaranteed price has not been disclosed by the stadium contractors, but the government agency overseeing the project and the Broncos agree it would be approximately $360 million.
| Tony Gwynn is all for getting the Pares a new stadium. (AP) |
"The Denver Broncos have an obligation to the citizens of this region to assist the Metropolitan Football Stadium District Board in designing and constructing a state-of-the-art, multi-use stadium of which everyone can be proud," Bowlen said. "You have my personal commitment that we will help deliver this building in a manner which is timely and fiscally responsible."
Proposition C, an estimated $411 million proposal for a 26-block stadium and redevelopment project in downtown San Diego, will go before that city's voters. The funds would come from a hotel tax and bond sales and from revenues generated once the project is completed.
The Padres are asking the city to come up with about $250 million, while the team is committed to pay approximately $115 million, most of which likely will be generated by naming rights and other licensing agreements. The remainder of the project would generate from other public funds while the team will be responsible for cost overruns.
The Padres are unhappy with their current home at Qualcomm Stadium, which was expanded in order to attract a Super Bowl and is too big for baseball. The team's lease, which expires after the 1999 season, also favors the NFL Chargers in terms of scheduling and revenue.
Both measures were ahead in recent polls. Star players were called on to make a last-minute pitch in TV commercials, with John Elway pushing the measure in Colorado and Tony Gwynn the proposal in San Diego.
Both measures were fighting a rising trend against substantial public financing of stadiums. Earlier this year, voters in central North Carolina voted down a tax meant to lure the Minnesota Twins.
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