NEW YORK – In a last-ditch effort to land the 2012 Olympics (search), the city is proposing to build a new baseball stadium in place of the football stadium that was rejected by state leaders earlier this month, severely crippling the city's bid.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg (search) said Sunday the new stadium would be built by the New York Mets (search) next to the team's current home, Shea Stadium (search), in the borough of Queens. He said he was committed to fighting for the 2012 Summer Games despite the recent setback.
"New Yorkers aren't quitters," he said. "We just don't walk away from our future."
Bloomberg said the stadium would be privately funded and built in time for the 2009 baseball season. Under the plan, the city and state would provide $160 million in funding for infrastructure and $100 million to convert the stadium from 45,000 seats to 80,000 seats if the city wins the Olympics.
Bloomberg and his NYC2012 bid committee worked through the weekend to finalize the revised plan, which could be presented to the International Olympic Committee (search) next week. The IOC will choose a host city July 6 in Singapore.
The city is competing against Paris, London, Madrid and Moscow to host the games. Members of the IOC said during a visit to New York earlier this year that a new stadium would be critical to the city's chances.
On June 6, state leaders refused to approve $300 million in funding for a proposed $2.2 billion football stadium on Manhattan's west side. The stadium was to have been used primarily as the home of the NFL's New York Jets.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a key opponent of the Manhattan project, said Sunday night he would support the Queens proposal. He estimated it would cost the state about $75 million for infrastructure, the city about $100 million and the Mets about $600 million.
"The stadium will be built independent of whether we're awarded the Olympics or not," Silver said. "Hopefully for the '09 season this can be done."
The Queens site has surfaced in earlier NYC2012 proposals as a backup for the preferred site in Manhattan. The new stadium would be situated on a parking lot next to Shea Stadium, across the East River from Manhattan.
Bloomberg acknowledged that the Queens plan would likely be a "tougher sell" to the IOC than the Manhattan stadium. But he said the revised proposal would show the IOC that the city was willing to clear all hurdles to win the games.
Citing an "exceptional circumstance," the IOC said New York could modify its plan but must go to the IOC executive board for approval before the July vote.