Thursday, October 09, 2008

Costa Rica court puts new National Stadium on hold

This chunk of Costa Rica's former National Stadium in western San José's La Sabana Park is all that remains after the arena was demolished in May to make way for a new stadium to be built by China. Amid protest that the stadium would ruin one of the city's few green parks, a court has temporarily halted construction set for next month. (Photo: Ronald Reyes|Tico Times)By Gillian Gillers
Tico Times Staff

The Supreme Court has temporarily frozen construction on a $73 million soccer stadium in response to charges that the stadium will threaten the environment and quality of life in La Sabana Park, on San Jose's western edge.

Guido Saenz, who designed La Sabana as minister of culture, youth and sports in the late 1970s, requested the injunction because, he said, the stadium would convert the park, the “lung of the city,” into a noisy, dirty and crime-ridden place.

It could take months for the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) to decide whether to allow the project to go forward.

“I'm fed up. I'm bored of the obstacles that spring up around everything,” President Oscar Arias said in a statement.

The freeze is the latest wrinkle in relations between Costa Rica and China, which is paying for the stadium and was expected to send workers and machinery here to begin construction next month.

Last month, the Sala IV ordered the government to make public details on China's intended purchase of $300 million in Costa Rican bonds, despite China's request that the information be kept secret.

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