Mayor Rendell said that the city will not approve any plans until next year. After months of wrangling and deliberating over financing and locations, Mayor Ed Rendell announced yesterday that the city will not approve plans for new stadiums for the Philadelphia Eagles or Phillies until next year at the earliest. According to Rendell, City Council President Anna Verna told him there just wasn't enough time left for City Council to review the proposals during their final four meetings of the year. "It's a sad day for these two franchises, because both of these franchises have about the worst lease for their stadiums in their respective leagues and generate among the least amount of revenues from stadiums" Rendell said at an afternoon news conference yesterday. "Frankly, I'm worried about the fate of our two teams and where they go from here." For months, Rendell --Ewho will leave office in January -- has stressed his goal of completing the stadium plans before the end of his term and has expressed worries that too many delays could destroy the teams' plans. But although he will not see those plans develop within his time in office, he did say the discussions will resume again next year under Verna and Mayor-elect John Street. Both pledged yesterday to work towards securing a deal as soon as possible when Council returns in January. Last year, the state legislature approved a plan to fund about a third of the $600 million-plus cost to build the new stadiums, with the rest of the money coming from the teams and the city. Both the Eagles and the Phillies currently play in the 29-year-old Veterans Stadium in South Philadelphia. Though the Eagles quickly decided they would prefer to stay in South Philly, the Phillies have spent months contentiously debating the merits of a downtown location, which the team and Rendell prefer but the community opposes. Recently, though, the Phillies essentially gave up on a Center City site and now also want to build on a site adjacent to the Vet. Both teams voiced their frustration with the delay. "Today's announcement was deeply disappointing and frankly very shocking to us," Eagles CEO Joe Banner said in a statement yesterday. "We have been ready to proceed with a new stadium since last spring, when the state approved a portion of the funding," he said. And despite the months of indecision, Phillies President Dave Montgomery said the team was ready to show its proposal to Council this week. "We had agreed on all the major issues and were preparing to take it to Council," he said. "We hope that a way can be found to move forward on this proposal and that this setback will prove to be a temporary one," Banner said in the statement. Rendell dismissed speculation that the delays could be grounds for one of the teams to break their lease with the city, which runs through 2011. Los Angeles is still looking to replace its NFL franchise. "They can't leave," Rendell said. "They signed a contract." The Associated Press contributed to this article.Comments powered by Disqus
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