FC Cincinnati Stadium Parking Plan Debated

New FC Cincinnati stadium rendering

The parking plan for a new FC Cincinnati stadium is being debated, as Hamilton County officials are exploring an alternative to constructing a 1,000-space garage. 

FC Cincinnati will begin MLS play in 2019 as an expansion club. It is currently expected that the team will play two seasons at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium–its home from 2016-2018 for Division II USL competition–before opening a new stadium in the city’s West End in 2021. As part of its contribution to the project, Hamilton County commissioners previously approved $15 million to $22 million for stadium parking. It was anticipated that the county would build a 1,000-space garage for the stadium but, with cost concerns arising, an alternative that calls for the construction of two smaller garages is being considered.

The first garage could be built near Findlay Market in the city’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, with the second opening closer to the stadium at some point down the road. A final decision has not been made on the FC Cincinnati stadium parking plan yet, but the club is expressing some concerns. The team has pledged to keep gameday parking off residential streets, and fears that the absence of a larger garage adjacent to the stadium could go against that, but the resolutions approved by the county may have given it some leeway in settling on a final plan. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

But those three unanimous resolutions left a lot of wiggle room with wording about spurring development and doing what’s best for the community.

The wavering has Jeff Berding, FC Cincinnati’s president and general manager, worried. Where will fans park? The team promised neighborhood residents it wouldn’t be on residential streets, but without a parking garage right next to the stadium, that promise is in jeopardy.

City zoning rules require the stadium to have 5,300 parking spaces. FC Cincinnati has cobbled together a plan with more spaces than that throughout downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Queensgate, but they aren’t all within walking distance….

Commissioner Denise Driehaus said the county board never specifically promised to build a garage adjacent to the FC Cincinnati stadium. She said her job is to make sure the county stays true to its obligation to FC Cincinnati but also makes money for the county.

This debates comes as FC Cincinnati pushes for city planning commission approval of the project. Planning documents were submitted to the City of Cincinnati this week.

Rendering courtesy Meis Architects. 

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