SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Any plan to build a football stadium in San Diego should include an ironclad guarantee that the Chargers will remain in town for the amount of time it will take to pay off construction bonds, Councilman Scott Sherman said Wednesday.
Sherman also said a stadium plan should include a park of at least 20 acres alongside the San Diego River, but not include any contributions from the city's general fund -- the account that pays for basic services like libraries and public safety -- to help pay for it.
Sherman said Mayor Kevin Faulconer and members of his advisory group have put forth bold ideas and taken criticism, so he felt it was time to step forward with his own concept.
Sherman's district includes the Mission Valley site adjacent to aging Qualcomm Stadium where a new playing facility would be built.
"What you see today around the stadium is (a) large, mostly empty parking lot, you can see the amount of distance on both sides of us today," Sherman said. "What I see is not just a parking lot, but an amazing set of opportunities -- a canvas that we could turn into all kinds of opportunities for San Diego and for keeping the NFL here."
He said most of the ideas have been floated over the past 14 years, but have since been tweaked by his staff.
"If we do this correctly, and plan for it, and develop this site along with a stadium, this could be a catalyst for economic development, it could institute the River Park Master Plan, and just be an overall economic engine and amenity here in the city of San Diego," Sherman said.
He said San Diego could even create its own version of San Antonio's River Walk, with a combination of housing, shops and restaurants.
With nightlife and parks, people could go to the stadium area any time, he said.
"A lot of times, people go downtown to the Gaslamp and those types of things," Sherman said. "They go there whether or not Petco (Park) has a game going on or not. The same thing could happen here."
The project should also include ways to mitigate the already congested traffic on Mission Valley roadways, and incorporate infrastructure projects planned for the area, Sherman said.
Asked by City News Service for comment, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani sent an email that read: "We have great respect for Councilman Sherman and welcome his involvement in the process."
The mayor's nine-member advisory group is in the process of developing stadium financing plans, which are scheduled to be issued next month.