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Carson holds rally at site of proposed stadium

CARSON — Stepping up their campaign to bring NFL football to Carson, city officials and other supporters rallied Friday in front of the proposed site of a stadium that could house the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, saying there is regional support for the effort.

Officials also unveiled a large banner reading “Future Home of Professional Football” and renamed a street “Stadium Way” at the location near the San Diego (405) Freeway and Del Amo Boulevard.

“As people drive down the freeway or drive down the roads, they no longer have to wonder where football is going to be played,” Carson Mayor Albert Robles said.

Backers of the stadium displayed letters of support from officials in area cities to show there is regional support for the stadium project.

“Our NFL partners said they wanted to see a regional outpouring of support for our stadium,” Robles added. “Now we have delivered. We passed the test. Today we’re showing the NFL that Carson’s commitment to the stadium is unwavering as is the support of our neighboring communities who recognize that NFL football will be great for the entire region.”

Among the supporting cities are Bellflower, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Lynwood and Compton.

Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino has supported Carson’s plan as has the governing board of the Compton Unified School District. Other cities and school districts are expected to join the coalition in coming days and weeks.

“This project will be huge not only for Carson but also for the regional economy,” Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian said. “The economic activity created by stadium visitors and fans will give a tremendous boost to our hotels, restaurants and to other businesses, especially in the hospitality industry.”

A competing stadium proposal is moving forward at the former Hollywood Park racetrack site in Inglewood, where St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is backing an NFL-ready facility.

Moving any NFL franchise requires a vote from league owners.

The Raiders and Chargers have both been involved in talks in their respective cities for new stadiums. The teams joined forces on the $1.7 billion Carson proposal in case they are unable to reach deals.

San Diego officials are proposing a $1.1 billion replacement for Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley in hopes of keeping the Chargers. The team, however, has been less than enthusiastic about the proposal, criticizing a fast-tracked environmental review of the project.

A new sign leading into the property the city of Carson hopes will become an NFL stadium designates the street as Stadium Way. The sign was unveiled Friday. (Courtesy photo)
A new sign leading into the property the city of Carson hopes will become an NFL stadium designates the street as Stadium Way. The sign was unveiled Friday. (Courtesy photo)

In Carson, stadium supporters collected thousands of signatures to get the stadium proposal directly before the City Council, bypassing the need for any extensive environmental reviews. The Carson City Council approved plans for the 72,000-seat stadium in April.

An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994, when the Raiders and Rams relocated.

“Only God can address the water drought, but the city of Carson is going to do its best to make sure we address our football drought,” Robles said during the rally.