After examining potential locations in Oakley and Newport (KY), FC Cincinnati is once again looking at a West End stadium site, as the clock is ticking down for the team to settle on a game plan for potential MLS expansion.
FC Cincinnati currently plays out of Nippert Stadium, but MLS officials have made it clear that the path to expansion lies with a new stadium. But finding a location for a privately financed new FC Cincinnati stadium has been challenging: a proposed West End site proved to be problematic after the Cincinnati Public Schools’ board did not want to give up tax revenue for a stadium project, FC Cincinnati officials turned to Oakley and Newport.
But those sites proved to pose issues (distance, inability to land a desired site), and now FC Cincinnati is back to the West End. From Cincinnati.com:
“We have worked for nearly three months in the West End, engaging neighborhood stakeholders, CPS, elected officials and others in a variety of public meetings and private discussions,” FC Cincinnati General Manager Jeff Berding said in a statement Thursday night.
“While we have yet to achieve necessary political support to advance plans for a privately financed stadium in the West End, we continue to engage elected leaders in Cincinnati to build a winning partnership here in the City.”
It’s the first public comment on the situation since before a March 31 deadline to select a site for a soccer-specific stadium if FC Cincinnati wins an MLS expansion team.
The club’s West End proposal requires a land-swap deal with Cincinnati Public Schools.
Cincinnati was part of a mix of expansion finalists considered by MLS in December that also included Detroit, Nashville, and Sacramento. It was at one point anticipated that MLS would select two of those bids before the end of 2017, but it instead chose Nashville’s bid in December while holding off on other expansion decisions. Sacramento’s backers have been searching for additional investment, while Detroit’s bid calls for sharing the existing Ford Field with the NFL’s Lions rather than building a new soccer-specific stadium.
RELATED STORIES: Meeting on FC Cincinnati Stadium Scrapped; FC Cincinnati West End Plan Scratched; FC Cincinnati Pushes for West End Stadium Site; Next MLS Expansion Decision Could be Made After 2018 Season Begins; Debate Over FC Cincinnati West Stadium Plan Continues; FC Cincinnati Makes West End Stadium Pitch; County Hopes for February Decision on FC Cincinnati Expansion Bid; FC Cincinnati Still Open to West End Stadium Site; MLS Expansion: What Comes Next?; No More MLS Expansion Decisions Until 2018; State Funds Could Be Sought for FC Cincinnati Stadium; FC Cincinnati Stadium Plan Approved by City, County; Four MLS Expansion Finalists Announced; Committee Approves FC Cincinnati Stadium Plan; Oakley Rejects FC Cincinnati Stadium Proposal; Paul Brown Stadium Scrapped as Option for FC Cincinnati; John Cranley Makes FC Cincinnati Stadium Pitch; County Pitches Paul Brown Stadium to FC Cincinnati; FC Cincinnati Unveils Latest MLS Stadium Proposal; FC Cincinnati, Mercy Health Announce MLS Jersey Partnership; FC Cincinnati Pitches $250M Stadium for Oakley; FC Cincinnati Reports Progress on MLS Stadium Plan; FC Cincinnati Continues to Work on Stadium Plan; FC Cincinnati Stadium Plan Discussed at Meeting; Commissioner, FC Cincinnati Split on Nippert Stadium for MLS; Port Authority Pitched FC Cincinnati Stadium Ownership; FC Cincinnati Releases Stadium Design Details