St. Louis Scraps MLS Stadium Funding Bill

MLS St. Louis Stadium rendering

A bill that is needed to secure city funding for an MLS stadium in St. Louis has been scrapped, casting more doubts over the proposal’s fate.

After gaining considerable momentum over the final months of 2016, the proposal for a roughly $200 million stadium in St. Louis has hit several roadblocks. Missouri governor-elect Eric Greitens came out against a request for $40 million in state tax credits for the stadium, effectively causing a December 20 vote on the funding to be postponed.

In St. Louis, city officials have been trying to determine how to generate $80 million in public funds for the project. While the allocation of city money would have required voter approval, it is up to the city to pass a bill before the end of this month that would outline the funding model and secure the proposal’s place on April’s ballot.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen was set to consider a funding framework, and authorize it for the April 4 election by January 24. However, on Tuesday, alderman and original bill sponsor Christine Ingrassia said that the proposal was not moving forward. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Ingrassia cited the lack of a financial agreement she could support, as well as investors’ difficulty in securing state financing. 

SC STL  spokesman Jim Woodcock did not address the city’s chances now for securing an MLS franchise. But in a statement Woodcock said the group met with Ingrassia for nearly two hours Friday and and hasn’t heard from her since, despite multiple emails and phone calls through the weekend and Monday.

“She has not called or responded to us so until we hear from her directly, it’s hard to respond to statements made in the media,” Woodcock said.

Ingrassia said the ownership group didn’t spend enough time reaching out to the community as their plan developed.

“It’s not just that they didn’t include me in the process early enough, but the public in general,” Ingrassia said. “There should’ve been community hearings and an ability formed at the Board of Aldermen to digest the details but for the public to as well.”

With the original plan for public contributions becoming increasingly unlikely to come to fruition, it leaves questions about whether the plan can proceed. If something is to change, time will be of the essence for SC STL, as applications for expansion must be submitted to the MLS by January 31.

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