Months after city voters rejected public funding for a proposed stadium, backers of the St. Louis MLS effort say that their funds are still on the table.
St. Louis’ bid for an MLS expansion franchise includes a plan for a new stadium. Proposed for a site west of Union Station, the stadium featured a funding model that called for a $60 million public contribution that was to be decided on by voters. In an April referendum, voters rejected the proposal, leaving some doubt about where St. Louis’ MLS effort would stand going forward.
Paul Edgerley, the chairman of the ownership group MLS2STL, recently issued a statement indicating that his group remains committed to the proposal, and is still prepared to invest in launching the club and in paying for a portion of the stadium. A portion of the statement says, “We remain committed to providing more than a quarter of a billion dollars of private investment for the project, both to pay the expansion fee and to fund the majority of the cost to build the stadium.”
Edgerley’s remarks can be read at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As the paper notes, a gap in the stadium funding remains, and with city voters already rejecting a public contribution, any new plan could require a regional effort:
Among other issues, having the city come up with the entire $60 million for a stadium that would attract fans from throughout the region contributed to Proposition 2’s defeat.
It is clear a regional approach, probably involving the city, county, and state, would be needed to make the stadium plan a reality.
“The vast majority of similar projects in markets the size of St. Louis require some degree of public investment,” said Jim Woodcock, the spokesperson for MLS2STL. “On that front, we’re seeing Nashville and comparable cities that want MLS studying and making progress on public sector participation.”
In the months since St. Louis voters rejected the funding measure for a stadium, other bids have begun to take shape. Nashville, for instance, recently revealed plans for a new stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville that could be funded through a private-public partnership.
MLS2STL had proposed a $270 million investment for its contribution in launching the franchise and the stadium. That includes $120 million for the stadium and related costs, plus the $150 million needed to pay the MLS expansion fee.
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