Don Garber to Visit St. Louis on Monday

St. Louis MLS stadium rendering

As St. Louis approaches its upcoming vote on a proposed MLS stadium, league commissioner Don Garber is slated to visit the city. 

Garber is scheduled to visit St. Louis on Monday, when he will be on hand with members of the group SC STL at a pep rally. The event at Ballpark Village comes as SC STL’s ongoing effort to bring an MLS expansion franchise to the city approaches the April 4 municipal election, during which voters will decide whether to contribute $60 million in public financing toward the construction of a new stadium.

Groups for and against the stadium have been making their cases over the last few weeks, and the event that will feature Garber is the latest step in the push for SC STL. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

About $50 million of the public contribution to the stadium would be generated by the use tax increase. The remaining $10 million would come from the city’s share of developer Paul McKee’s taxing district overlapping the stadium site.

Opponents shrug off SC STL’s promises of economic development as the same old promises from a new group of sports investors. They say St. Louis is giving away money to wealthy businessmen on a gamble while city communities are in desperate need of public investment.

The ownership group would pay MLS a franchise fee of $150 million, the most in league history, and cover the rest of the costs of the $155 million to $200 million stadium project. They’re also contributing $5 million to youth soccer programs over 20 years and partnering with workforce development agencies to do job training, among other things in a community benefits agreement with the city.

Investors are confident St. Louis will get an expansion franchise from the league if the vote passes. League Commissioner Don Garber will be in town Monday to meet with fans and drum up support for the vote, though he has never said publicly the city is guaranteed a team.

During April’s referendum, voters will have to sign off on two proposals. One is Proposition 1, which calls for a half-cent sales tax increase to cover costs related to a MetroLink expansion, while the other is Proposition 2.  Proposition 2, if approved along with Proposition 1, would lead to a business use tax increase to help cover the $60 million contribution.

Monday evening’s event will begin at 5:15 CST.

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