Tulane and city may be close to brokering football stadium deal

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wwltv.com

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 11:21 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Tulane University had hoped to start construction on its new $60 million football stadium early this year.

Those plans are still on hold while the university and the city iron out a special agreement to ease neighbors concerns.

Sources tell Eyewitness News that a final agreement has already been drafted.

"We will need to redo windows and have sound proofing between us and them," said Patricia Becker, who is one of Tulane's next door neighbors.

Patricia and her husband Cary's master bedroom butts up against the spot where the university plans to build a 25,000 seat football stadium.

The university says it has been driving test piles at the site while it waits for the city to approve construction permits.

"We're trying to figure out what to do in our back bedroom in order to protect ourselves from the lighting, the noise, and the pile driving is a great concern," said Becker.

Since Tulane announced plans to build the new $60 million stadium, the project has garnered mixed reaction from neighbors.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu got involved by asking the university to draft an enforceable agreement addressing neighbors concerns like noise, parking and lighting before permits would be issued. Sources tell Eyewitness News a final draft agreement could be presented to all parties involved as early as this Friday.

"I think Tulane for the most part has pretty much addressed everything -- all those concerns, and I think it's fantastic," said George Demmas, who lives on Audubon Boulevard where at least a dozen of his neighbors homes will be directly impacted by the project.

"I think it's going to help Tulane football. I think it's going to help the neighborhood. I think it's going to bring more economic development for Tulane, for us," said Demmas.

As crews move forward with pre-stadium construction work, Tulane officials confirm that the George Westfelt Practice Facility will be off limits to the Baltimore Ravens when they come to town. Instead the Super Bowl-bound team will practice at the university's [baseball] Greer Field at Turchin Stadium ahead of the big game.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office says it is close to reaching a final agreement with Tulane about its stadium project but would not specify an exact timeline.

Ryan Berni, the mayor's communications director, was unable to confirm or deny reports of a meeting scheduled for later this week to announce details of that agreement.

 

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