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Local reception to Chargers stadium proposal favorable, so far

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When the city of Escondido proposed the North County Fair mall would be located in the elbow of Highway 78 and Interstate 15, local businesses said “no.”

The mall ended up several miles south of the proposed site.

When the city of Escondido proposed a $56 million Marriot downtown, the Escondido Chamber of Citizens stood up and said “no.”

The project has been delayed, though city officials are trying to keep it afloat.

But when the city of Escondido went public with its support for a Chargers stadium, the general reaction was, “That’ll be good for the city.”

So far, there has been no official word from a group or person who opposes the stadium in Escondido.

Both the Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Citizens in Escondido have said they support the idea of being hosts to the NFL franchise's $1.1 billion stadium.

“We’re about managed and controlled and well-planned growth,” said Lisa Prazeau, president of the Chamber of Citizens. “As far as the Chargers stadium goes, we feel it could be a real economic boost for the city.”

The Chamber of Citizens comprises local residents who work to represent citizens and neighborhood groups.

The group has opposed the city's proposal to put in a Marriott hotel, but is so far behind the idea of a stadium in the region.

“People aren’t going to come to our city for a hotel,” Prazeau said. “They’re going to come to the city for the Chargers.”

Prazeau said her chamber is behind the stadium because of how much infrastructure is in place to support it.

Additionally, she said she knows the city is growing and a stadium could support the population financially for years to come.

She said a key factor for her is that the city makes a fair deal with the Chargers.

In the city of San Diego, the Chargers left a bad taste in the mouths of some residents with a ticket guarantee and a stadium expansion costing taxpayers millions that were never recouped.

But if the Chargers and Escondido can make a deal that would not shoulder residents with the brunt of the cost, Prazeau said she would have no problem backing it.

Likewise, the Escondido Chamber of Commerce sees the stadium as a potential boost to the economy.

However, chamber President and CEO Harvey Mitchell said the biggest challenge would be convincing local businesses to sell their land and relocate.

At a likely site for the stadium, there is a block with four parcels being used by an auto body shop, a fence company, a waste management auto pool facility and an asphalt plant.

Mitchell said the biggest challenges would be moving the waste management company and the asphalt plant, but said there is another asphalt plant near by.

“I think it’s feasible, but it might be difficult,” Mitchell said.

In the event that businesses are willing to move, Mitchell said his chamber could help them find new locations.

But they may not want to. Rose Auto Body is located just north of a parcel of land the city of Escondido said it is willing to sell to the Chargers.

When the city and chamber of commerce were discussing a location similar for North County Fair, the auto body shop was at the forefront of the move to prevent the mall from being built there, Mitchell said.

During a phone call to the shop, a manager said the owners would not want to make an official statement regarding the Chargers stadium.

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1 UserComments
Daryl Sandlin 5:44pm September 23, 2009

This is a wonderful idea & all should seriously consider what a win-win situation this truely is!! Escondido's revenue & economic boost would be very substantial....just a wonderful idea & I'm very proud of Escondido & their residents for supporting this long over due idea.....glad to see some people have a real eye for growth & support! Chula Vista's loss may very well be Escondido's gain! Wonderful idea!!