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Mayor To Brief NFL Officials on Stadium Expansion Delay

March 29, 1996

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Mayor Susan Golding will meet Tuesday with NFL officials concerned about delays in the expansion of Jack Murphy Stadium, which is scheduled to be the host of the 1998 Super Bowl.

Golding was in Washington on Thursday and unavailable for comment. Spokeswoman MaryAnne Pintar said Golding received a letter from NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue asking if the city felt it could still hold the title game despite a delay caused by a court challenge.

``She will go to assure them that the city will do so, whether it’s with temporary seating or having to expedite the project,″ Pintar said. ``It is her hope that we will still host in 1998.″

Golding will meet in New York with NFL president Neil Austrian and Jim Steeg, the executive director of special events who coordinates the Super Bowl.

``My understanding is that we’re still confident the game will be played as scheduled in San Diego,″ NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

``We’re hoping the improvements that were scheduled to be made in time for the Super Bowl will be made. As to what would happen if they’re not made, we’re not sure at this time. We would have some concerns about that, because we want the Super Bowl to be played in the best environment possible.″

The project to add 10,000 seats has been mired in controversy since a trio of taxpayer activists sued the city, contending authorization to sell $66.6 million in lease revenue bonds should be approved by voters.

Instead, sale of the bonds was approved by the San Diego City Council. Under the city’s plan, the money would be repaid through increased rent from the Chargers and other revenue, such as concessions and parking.

A judge is scheduled to rule Monday on the legality of the lease revenue bonds. Depending on that ruling, the city could proceed with interim financing.

The expansion, part of a deal to keep the Chargers here through 2020, was to have begun on Jan. 15. If the permanent expansion is completed in time, the city could install temporary seating for the Super Bowl, as it did in 1988. However, that would cost more than $2 million, and the seats would have to be removed after the game.

Earlier this month, San Francisco withdrew its request to hold the 1999 Super Bowl rather than spend $26 million to fix up Candlestick Park. San Francisco will instead concentrate on 2001 or 2002, when it hopes to have a new football stadium.

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