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article imageGolden State Warriors get green light to return to San Francisco

By Nathan Salant     Dec 11, 2015 in Sports
San Francisco - San Francisco supervisors voted 10-0 to approve construction of a new $1 billion arena on the city's southern downtown shoreline to lure the NBA champion Golden State Warriors basketball team back to the city by the bay.
The Warriors, who ended decades of frustration by winning the National Basketball Association crown last year behind high-scoring point guard Stephen Curry, have been based at what is now the Oracle Arena in Oakland for the past 44 years.
The team, which was originally called the San Francisco Warriors when it moved from Philadelphia in 1962, is scheduled to move to a new, not-yet-built arena in 2018, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Supervisors voted Dec. 8 to approve the environmental impact report for the project, clearing the last technical requirement for the new 18,500-seat arena to be built at Mission Bay with private financing.
The board also agreed to set up a $55 million fund for infrastructure improvements, including roads, expected to be built as a result of the new facilities.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who supported the project, called the vote "a huge win for San Francisco.”
“This new, privately financed, state-of-the-art Golden State Warriors event center rounds out Mission Bay as an incredible and diverse ecosystem of technology, health care, science and, now, entertainment,” Lee said.
But the arena still faces determined opposition from neighborhood groups expected to be impacted by the arena, including a possible protracted court battle.
Many project opponents spoke out Tuesday at a 5-hour public hearing prior to the vote, raising concerns about traffic, parking and a new hospital being planned by the University of California, San Francisco, near where the arena is planned.
One group of opponents, the Mission Bay Alliance, it would file a lawsuit to try to block construction.
“I’m appalled you would think about adding this much gridlock and traffic and pollution here,” neighborhood resident Emily Wilson told the supervisors.
“I am appalled you would consider putting this near a hospital," she said.
Haight-Ashbury resident Gloria Judd, a retired worker from another UCSF campus, complained that the planned new hospital and arena were too close to each other.
“It’s not OK to build a sports arena across from a hospital that takes the sickest of the sickest patients," she said.
But Warriors President Rick Welts said pro-stadium supporters had kept residents informed of the plans through 50 meetings with neighborhood group over the past four years.
“This is the culmination of four years of hard work by our city and community partners,” he said.
“The Warriors are excited and ready to build this new, state-of-the-art arena in San Francisco that’s worthy of our championship team and our world-class city and region.”
The city and the university signed a deal in September that would increase public transit and restrict vehicle access to the area, the newspaper said.
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