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City fires back at Dome authority, says can't build new stadium

City fires back at Dome authority, says can't build new stadium

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Proposed St. Louis Rams riverfront stadium

An rendering for the proposed St. Louis Rams riverfront stadium shows an aerial view looking south. The image was released on Thursday, April 23, 2015. Image courtesy of HOK

ST. LOUIS • The city has filed a counterclaim against the public board that owns and operates the Edward Jones Dome. It argues first that the city’s ordinance requiring a public vote in order to spend city tax dollars on a new stadium is valid — that state law isn’t inconsistent with the city ordinance.

Then the filing alleges that the Dome authority can’t build a new stadium on the north riverfront anyway.

The state law that allowed for the building of the Jones Dome — and is being used to authorize construction of a new stadium — required the dome to be located “adjacent to an existing convention facility,” the counterclaim says.

But the proposed new stadium, the city’s filing argues, is “located on the other side of a road” from the America’s Center and the Jones Dome, where the city currently hosts conventions.

The claim asks the judge — St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Thomas Frawley — to rule that the city law is valid. But if Frawley decides the two laws are indeed irreconcilable, then it asks him to rule that the Dome board doesn’t have the authority to build a stadium “at its proposed location.”

Mayor Francis Slay is publicly supportive of the new stadium. City Counselor Winston Calvert said this suit gives the city a chance to get answers sooner rather than later.

The counterclaim, he said, "is a reflection of the fact that everybody is ready to get these issues resolved and move on."

Attorneys for the Dome authority now have a week to respond. Frawley has set the next hearing for June 25.

This is one of two lawsuits attacking funding sources for the $985 million football arena.

Two weeks ago, Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, and five other state legislators sued the Dome authority and Gov. Jay Nixon to block state funding for the stadium.

Schaaf’s suit attacks proposals by a Nixon-appointed task force to fund about $250 million in construction of the new stadium by extending debt payments on the Jones Dome, where the St. Louis Rams now play.

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