Lawmakers Celebrate $82 Million For S.F. Shipyard Clean-Up

Mayor Gavin Newsom said Thursday he hopes $82 million in new federal cleanup money for the former Hunters Point shipyard will move the city closer to persuading the San Francisco 49ers to build a football stadium here.

Newsom, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein gathered at Hunters Point to celebrate the infusion, which was negotiated into a massive federal spending measure and signed into
law by President Bush last month.

"The money will flow, the dirt will fly, progress will get made," Pelosi declared.

The 49ers have been leaning toward building a stadium in Santa Clara, skeptical that the Superfund site at the former Hunters Point naval shipyard can be cleaned up and a stadium completed by 2012.

Newsom and others said the new money - more than double what the Bush administration had requested, and far above previous years' spending levels - pushes the Hunters Point site significantly closer to being ready.

"Eighty-two million dollars will get us where we need to be if the 49ers decide to do the right thing and fulfill their commitment to the members of the community that they made a number of years ago," Newsom said.

City plans also call for retail space, some 10,000 housing units and about 2 million square feet dedicated to a science and technology campus, Newsom said.

That campus could be expanded to 4 million square feet if the 49ers decide "to leave us, and abandon their promises," the mayor said.

The Hunters Point shipyard closed in 1974, and the Navy has spent some $400 million trying to clean up pollutants left behind.

The Navy has estimated it would take another 10 years and require as much as a half-billion dollars to complete the work.

Feinstein, who served as San Francisco mayor for nine years, said she felt "a tinge of profound jealousy" that Newsom - re-elected in November to a second four-year term - would oversee the project.

"This is glorious in scale, it's human in dimension," she said of the city's master plan. "A vibrant new community is going to rise."

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