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SAN DIEGO-The San Diego City Council — amid a sputtering economy — is preparing to extend its negotiating agreement with the Padres to build a Downtown ballpark.

This week, the council discussed whether to extend its “memorandum of understanding” with the ball club to build the $450 million project.

The ballclub and the city first struck the MOU in 1998, when voters approved the plan for a baseball-only ballpark and redevelopment in the East Village area of Downtown. The council has since extended it four times.

It has been sidetracked by a variety of factors ranging from lack of financing to lawsuits to inquiries into council corruption. The city currently plans to pay half the costs, putting up a portion of the money in cash, then using bond sales to finance the rest.

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