John Cranley Makes FC Cincinnati Stadium Pitch

FC Cincinnati Stadium rendering

In an effort to move discussions of a new FC Cincinnati stadium forward, Cincinnati mayor John Cranley has unveiled a new proposal. 

Last week, FC Cincinnati released a plan that called for a $200 million stadium in Oakley that would be privately financed. However, the proposal also included a request for $70 to $75 million from local government to fund infrastructure improvements around the site–prompting Hamilton County officials to make the case for FC Cincinnati to instead use the existing Paul Brown Stadium rather than a new facility.

With the club expressing skepticism that Paul Brown Stadium could be included in a successful MLS expansion bid, Cranley has unveiled a proposal that uses a variety of funding sources to cover infrastructure costs. Under the mayor’s plan, the city would divert money from tax increment financing districts in Oakley, contributing an expected $9.7 million. Also included are $7.3 million in proceeds from the sale of Blue Ash airport, a $15 million parking garage from the county, and a request for Hamilton County to grant Cincinnati permission to use its $1.1 million portion of the hotel tax to pay off a $20 million loan.

Hamilton County had offered the $15 million for a parking garage at a new stadium site as an alternative to its Paul Brown Stadium pitch. Cranely is hoping that the city will approve his plan by the end of this month, but questions remain as to whether a funding gap can be resolved. More from The Cincinnati Enquirer:

This brings the total public money offered to $52 million. Cranley acknowledged the gap saying, “I hope with the county we’ll get there.” The county, could in theory, offer a portion of the hotel tax from hotels located in the county.

FC Cincinnati officials echoed Cranley’s remarks. They said in a statement Friday that they hope to have more conversations with city and the county, and hope the county “will get us over the finish line.”

Infrastructure needs include $20 million for the garage, $45 million for roads and utilities and $5 million for preparing the site.

Late Friday, [county commissioner Todd] Portune told The Enquirer the county will not offer more funds for the stadium infrastructure.

“That’s all we have to give. That’s it,” Portune said.

FC Cincinnati has been discussing Cincinnati’s Oakley as its proposed stadium site, though Newport, KY–located across the river from downtown Cincinnati–has been floated as a possible alternative. The club has been looking to have its stadium plan in place by MLS’s mid-December announcement on expansion, particularly as some competing bids–including Sacramento and Nashville–continue to make progress.

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