Stadium impact OK’d

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Residents and students with concerns about parking, traffic and other effects of the proposed on-campus football stadium received Wednesday the final answers to their concerns from the University.

The Board of Regents stadium committee approved the environmental impact statement after deciding the University adequately determined the stadium’s potential environmental impact and provided appropriate solutions. The full Board of Regents will vote Friday.

The University has been developing the statement since December 2004 and released the final document in February. The regents’ vote Friday will be the end of the environmental impact process.

Regent David Metzen said all his questions about the stadium’s impact were answered through the environmental impact process.

“I think it’s been a great process; very open and transparent,” he said.

He said the University staff went above the legal requirements for the process by working with the neighborhoods to answer questions.

“It wasn’t bureaucratic,” Metzen said.

The University received 234 public comments before it compiled the final environmental impact statement. Seven comments were added before the document was presented to the Board of Regents.

The final responses did not give additional money to a community fund or give any further consideration to the Metrodome as an alternative option used in the environmental impact process.

The final responses did include a student representative addition for the Stadium Area Advisory Group and a promise to preserve the Station 19 fire station building as a historic site.

Tom Zearley, the student representative to the committee, said the document can’t answer every question perfectly.

“You don’t really know what’s going to happen until you start,” he said.

Brian Swanson, the University’s project manager for the environmental impact process, said that now that the process is nearing completion, the University hopes to secure legislative funding so it can move on to the stadium design.

“We’ll continue working on the roads and infrastructure but not on the design of the stadium,” he said.

University officials can’t make significant progress on the stadium until the complete funding is in place.

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