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New Lease Agreement Gives USC Control Over Coliseum, Sports Arena

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(credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The California Science Center’s board of directors has approved a lease agreement that allows USC to operate Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Sports Arena, despite growing concerns over limits on parking in Exposition Park.

The deal includes a call for the University to spend $70 million to make improvements to the Coliseum, while increasing the availability of parking spaces, that will be set aside for visitors to the Exposition Park museum on days of events.

“This will allow USC to invest over $70 million into the Coliseum to save and restore this historical national landmark,” SC senior vice president of university relations Thomas Sayles said. “The deal approved today is a win-win for the people of Los Angeles, the museums in Exposition Park, our community, and USC.”

Critics of the proposal had suggested that the lease would greatly limit space availability for visitors to the Science Center, Natural History Museum, and California African American museum, and give USC control over too much of the parking on event days.

However, under the approved lease, nearly 1,000 spaces will be reserved for museum visitors on football game days, as well as a handful of other events.

USC’s financial commitment to the Coliseum also increased from $60 million to $70 million.

County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Science Center’s board of trustees, suggests that the agreement “will represent a victory for all of Los Angeles for generations to come.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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