A Portland (ME) City Council committee declined to approve a plan for a proposed USL League One stadium, instead asking for more information on exactly what the owners have in mind for renovations and a location.
USL to Portland presented two stadium options to the City Council; one would upgrade an existing field on Preble Street (hosting 5,000 fans) to a pro stadium, while the other would upgrade existing Fitzpatrick Stadium with a capacity of 7,000. In both cases the stadium upgrades would be privately financed to the tune of $8-$12 million.
The USL investors were seeking guidance from the city’s Housing and Community Development Committee for direction, but the committee declined to provide it. From the Portland Press-Herald:
Once the committee has received more details it will weigh its choices and make a recommendation to the nine-member City Council, which has the final authority over where a soccer stadium would be located. Approval from the United Soccer League designating Portland as an expansion market is contingent on finding a permanent stadium, with the team’s inaugural season beginning as soon as March 2023. A name for the team has not been selected.
“I want to be clear that this committee has made zero decisions. It would not be accurate to say that we’ve chosen one location over another. We need more details on both sites before we can proceed in any form,” said Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, chairman of the committee.
“After an exhaustive search around Greater Portland, we feel confident that either one of these locations would be successful,” USL to Portland leader Gabe Hoffman-Johnson told the council committee. “Our number one goal is to unite and build a vibrant community through soccer that is inclusive to all.”
There are several complications with both proposals; the Preble Street site is part of the city’s Land Bank and might require a super-majority vote of the City Council for usage, wile , or eight of nine votes, if that site were chosen. A new school track facility would need to replace the current one at Fitzpatrick Stadium. Still, despite the complications and the proposal of two separate plans, committee members expressed enthusiasm about bringing USL League One to Portland.