San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

High Court Oks New National Stadium

A court has given China a green light to build a new national stadium in La Sabana Park in western San José after rejecting appeal that had halted construction.

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, set to hold 35,000 people, is a gift from the Chinese government, billed as a symbol of friendship between the two nations, which 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.”

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.

A Chinese company is expected to begin construction on the stadium in November or December and finish by May 2010.


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