Raiders, Ve­gas put on show for ground­break­ing

Manteca Bulletin - - Sports -

LAS VE­GAS (AP) — In a cer­e­mony that bal­anced the glitz that Las Ve­gas em­bod­ies and the tragedy from which it is still re­cov­er­ing, the Oak­land Raiders on Mon­day broke ground on a 65,000seat domed sta­dium across the free­way from the city’s world-fa­mous casi­nos.

Prince pro­tegee Ju­dith Hill opened the cer­e­mony with a ren­di­tion of Andra Day’s song “Rise Up” as po­lice, fire­fight­ers, EMTs and other mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity walked through a tem­po­rary venue to a stand­ing ova­tion. Fifty-eight beams of light shone be­hind the stage, each rep­re­sent­ing one of the vic­tims of the Oct. 1 at­tack, which was the worst mass shoot­ing in mod­ern U.S. his­tory.

Long­time Las Ve­gas en­ter­tainer Wayne New­ton, mu­si­cian Car­los San­tana, New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots owner Robert Kraft and Hall of Fam-

ers Howie Long and Fred Bilet­nikoff were among the crowd that wit­nessed state and lo­cal of­fi­cials as well as team lead­ers turn dirt with shiny shov­els em­bla­zoned with the Raiders logo.

“Only in Ve­gas can you turn a ground-break­ing cer­e­mony into a show,” NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell said dur­ing the event.

Con­trac­tors will be work­ing un­der an am­bi­tious time­line as the team wants to kick off the 2020 sea­son at the new sta­dium. But the Raiders have yet to reach cru­cial agree­ments for the $1.9 bil­lion project and now stand to lose mil­lions un­der the tax re­form bill U.S. House Repub­li­cans un­veiled ear­lier this month.

The Raiders’ relocation to Las Ve­gas was a plan years in the mak­ing af­ter NFL own­ers shot down their plans to move to Los An­ge­les. Shortly af­ter, casino mogul Shel­don Adel­son an­nounced his in­ter­est in help­ing build a domed sta­dium on the UNLV cam­pus that could be shared with a pro­fes­sional team.

Lob­by­ing be­gan, and the Ne­vada Leg­is­la­ture ap­proved a tax in­crease to con­trib­ute $750 mil­lion to the project. Adel­son later with­drew his mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar pledge from the project, and the Raiders chose a dif­fer­ent site for the sta­dium.

UNLV and the Raiders will still share the sta­dium, but the joint-use agree­ment is pend­ing.

So is an agree­ment that is meant to en­sure the great­est pos­si­ble par­tic­i­pa­tion by the lo­cal com­mu­nity in the de­sign, con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion of the sta­dium. The agree­ment, known as the “com­mu­nity ben­e­fits plan,” has been the sub­ject of pub­lic de­bate dur­ing meet­ings of the Las Ve­gas Sta­dium Au­thor­ity board, the pub­lic en­tity re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing the sta­dium. A draft the team pre­sented dur­ing a board meet­ing last week re­quires that mi­nor­ity and fe­male work­ers carry out at least 38 per­cent of con­struc­tion work hours and 55 per­cent of op­er­a­tion hours on event days.

While Raiders Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Dan Ven­trelle de­scribed the pro­posed agree­ment as the most ag­gres­sive ever for a sta­dium project, board mem­bers ex­pressed con­cerns over the hir­ing tar­gets.

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