Franklin County to Vote on New Columbus Crew SC Stadium Funding

Columbus Crew Stadium rendering 4

The funding plan for a new Columbus Crew SC stadium could advance on Tuesday, when the Franklin County Commission considers a $50 million contribution.

Plans were recently unveiled for a new Crew stadium on a site in Columbus’ Arena District, with the proposal part of an ongoing effort to keep the Crew from relocating. Club investor-operator Anthony Precourt was making efforts to move the team from Columbus to Austin until it was announced earlier this fall that discussions were taking place about having a group led by Jimmy and Dee Haslam–owners of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns–and the Columbus-based Edwards family buy into MLS and receive operating rights to Columbus. Meanwhile, Precourt would remain a MLS investor, allowing him to move forward with plans for a new Austin stadium down the road.

As part of the funding model for the new Crew stadium, both the City of Columbus and Franklin County would make $50 million contributions. The city and state have been moving forward with a new-stadium financing plan, and Franklin County could take a step forward Tuesday if it approves its contribution to the project. The stadium proposal calls for a $230 million facility to be surrounded by a new development dubbed Confluence Village. More from WOSU Radio:

Columbus and Franklin County have committed about $50 million each to further develop the area. But unlike the team’s boosters, Commission president Kevin Boyce isn’t sentimental about the plan.

“Let me be clear,” he says. “I like soccer, and I love the Crew, but this is really economic development for Franklin County.

Planners say Confluence Village will include almost 900 residential units, with 20 percent earmarked for affordable housing, and enough commercial space for about 1,300 jobs.

Columbus approved a similar measure last week. But unlike the city proposal, the county has not included an explicit prohibition on its money being used to build the stadium itself.

If constructed, the new venue will serve as a replacement for MAPFRE Stadium–the home of the Crew on the Ohio State Fairgrounds that first opened in 1999. Officials are planning to redevelop the MAPFRE Stadium site into a sports park that includes community and tournament fields, as well as MLS training space. Work on that project would begin after the new stadium opens.

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