A member of the Austin City Council is expected to propose a resolution to remove city parkland from the list of options for an Austin MLS Stadium.
In December, the city council was presented with a report that listed five city-owned site options for a stadium that could be built for the relocating Columbus Crew SC. More recently, Precourt Sports Ventures–the group led by Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt–indicated that it is still evaluating its options, but that it had cut the Travis County Exposition Center and a former Home Depot location from the list of contenders.
With two parkland sites still in the mix, councilmember Ann Kitchen is expected to sponsor a resolution that could take both of those options–Butler Shores Metropolitan Park and Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metropolitan Park–off the table. Kitchen, who expects the resolution to be discussed in February, contends that parkland should not be used for the stadium, but Austin MLS backers are hoping to be able to make the case for how the stadium project could improve parkland. More from The Austin Monitor:
Kitchen’s resolution would bring more uncertainty to the task of relocating the team, with only one city-owned property – McKalla Place near the Domain – under consideration in addition to any privately owned tracts of land in play.
Richard Suttle, an Austin lobbyist working for PSV, said the group plans to talk with city leaders about possible deal structures and other considerations for using parkland before a vote is taken.
“We are hopeful that before the site is ruled out that we can have a conversation about how the parkland can be improved and made more accessible to more Austinites,” he said. “We hope that with more information it might be compelling enough to put the ideas to the voters as prescribed in the city charter. A soccer facility does not have to be inconsistent with public parkland as long as appropriate measures are taken to enhance the park and make it inviting for Austinites from all parts of our city.”
Kitchen said she’s not likely to be won over by arrangements that would see the stadium owners provide funding for maintenance throughout the city’s parks system in exchange for using a parkland site. That position was part of her discussion on Sunday at a rally at Butler Park that saw about 60 residents opposed to any use of parkland for a stadium.
Butler Shores has earned high marks in Precourt’s camp, with its setting to proximity to downtown Austin being cited among its advantages. Precourt announced in October that he was exploring a move of Crew SC to Austin, but no final decision has been made to this point. Crew SC will spend the 2018 MLS season at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.
Rendering courtesy Precourt Sports Ventures.
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