Paying for renewal

Subsidies for the 49ers are among the many concerns being raised about the Bayview
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gwschulz@sfbg.com

BayviewHunters Point residents have cause to be concerned about any redevelopment plan that would dramatically alter the face of their neighborhoods, particularly given the displacement and corporate subsidies that have resulted from past redevelopment schemes in San Francisco.

So when housing activist Randy Shaw reported on his Beyondchron.org Web site April 10 that "hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars" in revenue from the BayviewHunters Point Redevelopment Plan could go toward rebuilding Candlestick Park for the 49ers, his claim created a firestorm. The rumor quickly circulated among community groups and lefty media outlets already fearful of what SF officials had in store for the southeast section of the city.

But Marcia Rosen, executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, says Shaw got it wrong: The tax increment financing (TIF) the main source of redevelopment money from BayviewHunters Point was never intended for Candlestick Park. Sup. Sophie Maxwell, whose district includes the project area, also told the Guardian last week that there hasn't been any talk of subsidizing the stadium project or its surrounding housing.

Nonetheless, Maxwell has spent weeks trying to respond to community concerns about the stadium funding, as well as a host of other concerns raised by a portion of the community that has been galvanized by the redevelopment issue. On April 20 she added an amendment to the plan that explicitly restricts any TIF money from outside the Candlestick Point Special Use District from going anywhere near the stadium.

But that's unlikely to end the controversy over a plan that Maxwell has been working on for six years and that has been in the pipeline for nearly four decades.

"This plan didn't just happen out of thin air," Maxwell said at the May 9 Board of Supervisors meeting. "It came from many different plans in the Bayview. It was an accumulation of many outreach efforts. The plan has been thoroughly vetted. The scrutiny and disagreements have only made it stronger."

The legislation before the board for consideration now contains two parts: a 136-acre area that includes the Hunters Point Hill residential neighborhood, and a much larger area, added in the ’90s, that would expand the Redevelopment Agency's jurisdiction by 1,361 acres.

Inside the enormous widened area is the Candlestick Point Special Use District, which was created by voters in 1997 as part of a narrowly passed legislative package infused with $100 million in bond money for the construction of a new Candlestick stadium and shopping mall. The plan was stalled until last month, when public mutterings about an alternative plan with more housing units began to circulate.

The propositions (there were two in 1997) allocating $100 million for Candlestick are still technically in effect. The money was never spent, and the football club's ownership has since indicated it may build the project without that bond money in order to focus on housing. A feasibility study is currently under way, and no plans have yet been made public.

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