San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican court OKs stadium

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

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

The $73 million stadium, capacity 35,000 people, 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 Sáenz´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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