Stadium Watch: Barrio stadium opposition

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The Chargers Stadium Initiative was the topic at "The Spirit of Barrio Logan" luncheon, outdoors at the Family Health Center.

John Spanos, Stadium Point-man Fred Maas and Architect Jeffrey Pollack were there to sell their plan to a neighborhood that wants no part of it.

If the Chargers can successfully sell their plan to residents of Barrio Logan, they may have a chance with the voters, but it’s a very hard sell.

And it didn’t help that Dean Spanos wasn’t at the luncheon, but Fred Maas took the fall.

"I didn’t put it on his calendar. It’s as simple as that. He’s a busy guy as you can imagine," Maas said.

John Spanos talked about the team on the field, but never mentioned the stadium, leaving that to Maas who has a history of promoting Barrio Logan as former head of the city’s redevelopment agency.

He told the group this is more than a stadium. It will offer venues 365-days a year at no cost to taxpayers.

Maas acknowledged the transformation of the Barrio and said the Chargers want the Barrio to control its own destiny and the team wants to be part of that process.

"We shouldn’t be disconnected from Barrio. We should include them as an integral part of what we’re doing and that’s what we tried to do with our stadium," Maas said.

To the silent protesters across the street, that fell on deaf ears.

"We’re opposed to any plan to build a stadium in the East Village, a block from the Barrio," said Brent Beltran, a resident of Barrio Logan.

Beltran said the fear is gentrification, replacing folks who have rented here for years being forced out as rents rise.

"By the time the stadium gets built, these renting residents will be pushed out of this community," he said.

Beltran said the same will happen to small businesses as their rent skyrockets along with property values.

The Chargers say the stadium will not be the tallest structure in the East Village and the team is offering incentives to the Barrio’s thriving arts community.

"One of the things that we talked about and I spoke to John’s dad this morning about including a gallery specifically for Barrio Logan in the stadium that will be a place for artisans to show their wares," Maas said.

And hopefully a Comic-Con museum and Maas said with a stadium, the bus yards will remain.

Next week, the Chargers stadium team will appear at the East Village Planning Group, which also opposes the stadium. We’re told Dean Spanos will be at that meeting.

Categories: Local San Diego News