Great America to fight stadium plan

The 49ers’ roller-coaster ride in trying to build a stadium next to a Santa Clara amusement park took a twisting new turn Tuesday, with Great America officials formally expressing opposition to the idea — and the team saying it might try to solve the problem by buying the theme park.

The plan to relocate the team from its longtime San Francisco home to the South Bay began in November, when the 49ers unexpectedly informed Mayor Gavin Newsom that a proposed stadium project at Candlestick Point was unworkable due to parking and transportation infrastructure concerns.

Now it’s the NFL team that’s getting the bad news. The corporate owner of Great America Amusement Park, Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment, is announcing its opposition to the proposed $854 million stadium, which would be built adjacent to the park.

“Cedar Fair opposes the stadium as proposed, in the middle of Great America’s parking lot,” company officials said in a statement released Tuesday.

Santa Clara Deputy City Manager Carol McCarthy said she heard the news from the 49ers. “This is not a surprise,” McCarthy said. “We’ve always been aware of their concerns.”

In June, Cedar Fair spokesperson Stacy Frole told The Examiner that there were numerous issues to be resolved, including the loss of parking to accommodate the stadium, as well as noise, dust and traffic disruptions during the construction. Frole did not return a phone call for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

Adding another twist, team spokesperson Lisa Lang said on Tuesday that the 49ers might resolve the issue by eventually buying Great America, since Cedar Fair has indicated it might be interested in selling the property.

That was news to McCarthy, who said the sale of the amusement park would require city approval and would be partially contingent on the prospective park operator’s “proven financial ability to operate a park in a first-class manner.”

San Francisco city officials would not give an official response to calls for comment, but off the record, several expressed glee at the turn of events.

San Francisco is proposing to build a stadium at the site of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Team officials have expressed interest in the proposal as a potential backup plan, but have also expressed concern about San Francisco’s ability to guarantee transportation improvements and complete the environmental clean up on the polluted site in time to make the team’s goal of getting into a new stadium by 2012.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

beslinger@examiner.com

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