FC Cincinnati Makes West End Stadium Pitch

FC Cincinnati Stadium rendering

FC Cincinnati is sharing its vision for a new stadium on the city’s West End, but plenty of work will be needed to make that plan a reality. 

As part of its ongoing MLS expansion pursuit, FC Cincinnati is seeking to move forward with plans for a new soccer-specific stadium. While there has been some considerable discussion about constructing that stadium in Oakley, the club’s three site options remain on the table for consideration, including Oakley, West End, and Newport, KY.

On Monday, the club presented its pitch for a new stadium in the West End. Under that plan, a new MLS venue would be constructed on the site of the existing Taft High School’s Stargel stadium, which the club would replace by constructing a new facility at a nearby site. Such a move would require the approval of the Cincinnati Public Schools board. While the board heard a pitch from FC Cincinnati president and general manager Jeff Berding on Monday, officials pointed out that the discussion is still very much in its early phases. More from The Cincinnati Enquirer:

The stadium land swap needs CPS board approval, putting the school board – with three new members this year – in the driver’s seat. Hundreds turned out to voice their opinion and learn details of what the soccer club is planning.

“This would be the best high school stadium in the city, and we’ll pay for the whole thing,” Berding told The Enquirer before the meeting.

Cincinnati Public Schools Board President Carolyn Jones called Berding’s presentation the start of the conversation. No sale papers have been drawn up; no vote is scheduled.

The board’s seven members expressed concern about receiving full property tax payments, making sure the students are better off if a deal is done and getting community support for the plan.

Along with bids from DetroitNashville, and Sacramento, Cincinnati was one of four finalists considered by MLS in December. It was at one point expected that the league would choose two of those bids before 2017 concluded, but MLS announced in December that it would select Nashville and hold off on other decisions regarding expansion bids. FC Cincinnati’s proposal has included plans for a privately financed stadium, with Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati contributing funds for infrastructure upgrades to support the facility.

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