L.A. to spend $25M near Coliseum to lure NFL team

LOS ANGELES -- The City Council voted Friday to spend $25
million on improvements around the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in
hopes of luring an NFL team back to the city.

Under the plan, the city Community Redevelopment Agency would
issue $25 million in bonds for street widening, site clearing and
other work near the Coliseum, which would be paid for by expected
tax revenue from the stadium.

In coming years, the city estimates it could spend up to $121
million more for additional transit and other improvements, which
would also be funded by stadium taxes.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said public funds will not be
used for a proposed $800 million renovation at the Coliseum. The
city-funded improvements approved by the Council amount to
incentives to make the city's NFL pitch more attractive.

"The dollars will be limited to improvements around the
stadium, not the actual construction," said Villaraigosa spokesman
Joe Ramallo.

City officials hope NFL owners, who meet in Denver next week,
will bring a team to the Coliseum by the 2009 season.

Under the city plan, the Coliseum would be extensively renovated
with money from the NFL.

The Coliseum is used by the University of Southern California
football team. It hasn't hosted a professional team since the
Raiders left after the 1994 season.