The Cincinnati City Council approved an ordinance paving the way for an FC Cincinnati West End stadium by a 5-4 margin, which could lead to an MLS expansion franchise as soon as Tuesday.
The City Council passed an ordinance today that could lead to a $33.8-million funding package for infrastructure improvements to support a new stadium on the city’s West End. This comes after the club’s stadium proposal took a step forward last week, when the Cincinnati Public Schools board approved a land-swap agreement that will allow the new facility to be built at the site of Taft High School’s Stargel Stadium.
The timing of this deal is important. There is a key MLS Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, and the topic of FC Cincinnati’s expansion bid is sure to be discussed.
The measure did not pass without considerable opposition from area residents, per Cincinnati.com:
FC Cincinnati’s West End deal has been plagued from the beginning by heated opposition. At a committee meeting ahead of the vote, a majority of the 33 speakers were against the stadium.
Opponents said it’s yet one more example of the rich taking advantage of the poor, that the community has not had a voice and that it amounts to “present-day colonialism.”
“I can’t help but be disgusted with our leadership,” said West End resident Tina Brown. “Just because you use the word ‘transparent’ doesn’t mean you’re being transparent.”
Kelli Prather, a former City Council candidate, said voting “yes” is “aiding and abetting in the gentrification in the West End.”
The deal calls for FC Cincinnati to create a community benefits agreement with West End residents via the West End Community Council, whose leader signed off on the deal. However, that agreement was not approved or deliberated by the City Council.
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