In a unanimous vote this week the Los Angeles City Council endorsed a plan to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The next step is finding a team, which may have implications for the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams will be able to break their lease on the Edward Jones Dome in 2014 unless the city signs off on a package of expensive upgrades.
The dome is considered by many to be one of the NFL’s worst stadiums.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says the city does have some money set to pay for upgrades.
“We have a pot of money; there is money available for doing that,” says Slay. “Now, there’s not enough money to put $200 million in new improvements or to build a new facility. ”
That "pot of money" the mayor is referring to is an annual "preservation fund" appropriation of of $4 million split between the Dome's three owners-the state, city and county. Its what the was used to fund some $30 million in upgrades to the dome back in 2005.
Now Brian McMurtry, Executive Director of the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Authority Complex, says the preservation fund is "roughly equal to the annual cost of maintenance and upkeep," he says, "we haven't been able to grow that fund very much at all since 2005.
The Dome lease sets a Feb. 1 deadline for presenting the Rams with a plan to upgrade the dome to so-called “top tier” status.
Slay says he hopes that corporate donors might also step in to with money to help keep the Rams in town.