Concerns that the FC Cincinnati West End stadium is displacing residents took center stage Monday, when area residents voiced opposition during a meeting on a proposed zoning change for the project.
FC Cincinnati is building a new soccer-specific stadium in the city’s West End neighborhood, with the facility scheduled to open in 2021. Plans were recently unveiled that called for an expansion of the project’s footprint, with the team looking to incorporate additional properties to the north of the stadium’s site.
The team’s plans have come under scrutiny, with the Cincinnati Enquirer recently reporting that at least 17 people have or will have to move because of the project. FC Cincinnati did scale back its initial expansion plans on Friday, taking the specific step of removing from its request the property that is home to a 99-year-old, bedridden woman named Mary Page.
However, FC Cincinnati’s initial pledge to not displace any residents in the process has left ensuing developments as a surprise to many in the neighborhood. That was expressed on Monday, when a few area residents voiced their opposition to the latest FC Cincinnati stadium plans before a city board. More from WPCO.com:
“We were told we had to move and ‘Hurry. Sign this form,'” said Crystal Lane, who lives on Central Avenue with her children. “Which, put it in writing that basically you had to say you were okay with it.”
She’s been a resident in the building for four years, and hasn’t received any word on her living circumstances since a letter told her she needed to move out by April 30.
“It’s horrible,” she said. “You’re letting the city know you don’t care. You do not care.”
Mark Mallory, former Cincinnati mayor and current director of community development for FC Cincinnati reiterated that no one from the Wade or Central Avenue buildings will be without a home, despite a change of zoning request that now requires more land for the stadium.
During the meeting, the club noted that the design has evolved from initial plans, resulting in properties being added to the project’s site that were not factored in originally. From WPCO:
The new issues contradict FC Cincinnati’s original assurance to West End residents that no one living in the areas surrounding the stadium would be displaced by the stadium’s construction.
“The original plan for the stadium did not involve having to deal with the properties that are in question today,” said Mallory. “As the process evolved, there were some design changes. There were some areas that it might make more sense to include in the stadium site now that we’ve gotten a better understanding of what the construction process will be, what the mechanicals might be, so the situation has evolved.”
FC Cincinnati is slated to spend the 2019 and 2020 MLS seasons at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, before the under-construction West End stadium opens in 2021.
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