A coalition of housing and environmental justice activists agreed to drop an active lawsuit and pending litigation against the state and city of Los Angeles over the proposed $1.2 billion Farmers Field NFL football stadium downtown, it was announced Thursday.
The Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition and Anschutz Entertainment Group came to an agreement over the group's concerns that the developer and the city had not addressed potential negative effects of the project on the low- income neighborhoods of Pico Union, downtown and neighborhoods in South L.A.
The coalition agreed to dismiss its litigation in exchange for AEG's commitment to establish a $15 million trust fund to build affordable housing units within a three-mile radius of the stadium for extremely low-income residents and "living wage" workers at the new project.
The developer separately committed to spend about $2.5 million to enhance or add parks and open space, as well as for air quality improvements and benefits to bus riders. The lion's share of the commitment will not go into effect until AEG secures an NFL team to play in Los Angeles, according to Becky Dennison with the Los Angeles Community Action Network, which is a member of the Play Fair Coalition.
The coalition sued the state in late August over a law that gave special protections to AEG's proposed stadium project to the alleged detriment of low- income residents around the proposed site of the stadium near L.A. Live and Staples Center. The group was also preparing a lawsuit against the city for alleged violations of the California Environmental Quality Act.
"To be honest, we felt the city really ignored the public, and AEG stepped up to resolve many of the issues where the city did not," Dennison said. AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke said, "This began as a legal negotiation but soon evolved into a cooperative dialogue about how we could work together to achieve the common goal of serving the needs of all segments of the community on important issues such as affordable housing."
"With this important milestone, for the first time in almost two decades the city of Los Angeles is finally poised to see the return of the NFL," Leiweke said. "With this settlement in place, the project can move forward to spur job creation and offer an even more robust package of measures benefiting the community."