A Columbus leader who recently proposed a downtown stadium for Columbus Crew SC has scrapped the plan, citing issues with obtaining the location.
Earlier this week, Columbus Foundation president and CEO Doug Kridler unveiled a concept for a new 21,000-seat soccer-specific stadium in downtown Columbus. His proposal called for the stadium to be constructed at a site located between North 5th Street and 6th Street, north of Mount Vernon Avenue and south of Interstate 670.
With Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt mulling a move of the club to Austin, Kridler hoped to spark a conversation about building an effort to keep the team in Columbus. However, Franklin County officials were not supportive of the prospect of allocating a portion of sales tax revenue for three years to cover part of the stadium’s cost. In addition, obtaining the site–owned by Abbott–was an issue.
Kridler has confirmed that his previous plan would have to be dropped, as Abbott is not in a position to give up the site. However, he emphasized the need for Columbus leaders to consider ideas for retaining the club. More from The Columbus Dispatch:
“I’ve heard through a third party that Abbott is unable to consider this proposal because of their need for that site to (serve) a very valuable service to their plant,” said Doug Kridler, president and CEO of the Columbus Foundation, who floated a series of ideas on Monday to try to prevent the Crew from moving to Austin, Texas, after the 2018 season.
“Between that reality, and a county that has higher priorities, then it’s back to the drawing board on ideas that the community can rally around to save the Crew and enhance our Downtown,” Kridler said. “The idea was to provoke other ideas. If Abbott won’t work, the county won’t work, where can we make it work?”
So far, Kridler’s exercise hasn’t generated any other alternatives. Local officials said Tuesday that they’re open to ideas, but so far haven’t offered any of their own.
Earlier this month, the Austin City Council approved a resolution to evaluate public land that could be used for a privately-financed MLS stadium. No final decision has been made regarding potential relocation, and Crew SC is slated to spend the 2018 MLS campaign at Columbus’s MAPFRE Stadium.
Photo by Matthew Bernhardt, via flickr.com.
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