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Sanders Hits The Road To Keep Chargers At Home

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Mayor Jerry Sanders and his team are hitting the road in an effort to keep football in San Diego. Sanders will make stops in three cities.

— San Diego is stepping up its game when it comes to keeping the Chargers in town. Sanders will travel to Denver, Indianapolis and Kansas City this week to see how those cities operate their sports and entertainment districts. The projects in those cities are considered comparable to what Sanders would like to see built in San Diego.

Sanders denied his trip was spurred by action in Los Angeles that advanced an NFL stadium project there. He said his trip has been in the works for two months and he already has a timeline in mind for the stadium and entertainment district project.

“We hope to have an initiative put on the ballot for November of 2012,” he said.

Sanders wants to get something done before his term finishes at the end of 2012. He admits he doesn’t want to be the mayor that lost the team to another city. But he said building new stadium, or any other major project, is not about securing his legacy.

“A convention center, a stadium, Plaza de Panama, a library are all community projects,” he said. “That’s going to be a community legacy that we have worked on with a lot of different people from throughout San Diego. So I see that as a San Diego legacy.”

Sanders said he believes the Chargers want to stay in the city. Estimates put the cost of a new downtown stadium at about $800 million. He has appointed former Center City Development Corporation Board Chair and CEO Fred Maas as his special assistant on the project. Maas said Sanders’ trip should reassure citizens San Diego will enter into a fair deal if the project moves forward.

“He’s going out to look at these examples. Because when he comes back and puts the Sanders seal of approval on some project it’s going to have to past muster with him,” he said.

Critics of the stadium proposal have said it would require too large a public subsidy. Estimates have put the cost of the project at about $800 million. In the past the Chargers have said they could contribute about $300 million of that.

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