Monday, October 20, 2008

Costa Rican court OKs new national stadium

By Gillian Gillers
Tico Times Staff

A high court gave China a green light Friday to construct a new national stadium in La Sabana Park on San Jose's western edge.

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) rejected arguments by former Culture Minister Guido Saenz that the stadium, with a capacity for 35,000 people, would cause insufferable traffic jams and turn the park into a noisy, dirty and crime-ridden place.

The $73 million stadium is a gift from the Chinese government, meant to be a symbol of friendship between the two nations, who established diplomatic relations in June 2007.

“It's marvelous,” President Oscar Arias said in a statement. “We can finally construct the stadium that all Costa Ricans, and especially our youth, deserve.”

The Sala IV stopped work on the stadium Oct. 6 while judges evaluated Saenz's claims. The final ruling took just 11 days, far shorter than the average deliberation period of two months.

A Chinese company is expected to begin construction on the stadium in November or December and finish by May 2010, when Arias' term ends.

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