FC Cincinnati might have the political support needed to get a stadium built in the Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood.
Here’s a look at what and when major votes for the West End stadium site will take place in the coming weeks.
Cincinnati Public Schools Board
The Cincinnati Public Schools Board will vote Tuesday on a land swap with FC Cincinnati, which will allow the club to build on the site of Stargel Stadium.
Under FC Cincinnati’s proposal, the team will pay for the rebuild of a $10 million high school athletic facility on vacant land at Ezzard Charles Drive, across the street from Taft High School. Late last year, home builder Drees announced plans for this year’s Citirama housing subdivision at that site. Those homes will no longer be built there.
FC Cincinnati’s deal with the school board also includes a lump-sum, advance payment of school property taxes in 2019. FC Cincinnati will write a check for a decade worth of school property taxes on a stadium valued at $175 million.
Cincinnati City Council
Council members P.G. Sittenfeld and David Mann announced Friday they reached a $33.8 million deal for FC Cincinnati to build in the West End.
Under the Sittenfeld-Mann plan, the city’s taxpayers will help finance a West End parking garage renovation, utility lines, as well as site demolition and preparation for the stadium.
The city will pay for the project through a variety of funding sources, including money from the 2019 budget, hotel tax and cash set aside in the Downtown and Over-The-Rhine tax increment financing fund, which takes taxes paid by property owners and re-invests the money into new development in the area.
That’s a similar plan to what Cincinnati City Council already approved in November for FC Cincinnati to build a stadium in Oakley. FC Cincinnati General Manager Jeff Berding announced last week the team was no longer considering Oakley for its stadium site.
Legislation for the West End stadium deal will require a private developer to build $15 million worth of affordable housing and is contingent on FC Cincinnati paying $25 million worth of school property taxes.
The official FC Cincinnati stadium deal proposal will be written this week, according to Sittenfeld’s office.
The city’s budget and finance committee – eight of nine Cincinnati City Council members sit on that committee – will consider the legislation on Monday. The full city council can then consider the deal on Wednesday, April 18.
Hamilton County Commissioners
The county agreed in November to construct a 1,000-space parking garage, estimated to cost as much as $15 million, if FC Cincinnati earns an MLS bid.
That offer still stands. Specifically, the club is looking for the county to help construct a parking garage that will be mostly used for FC Cincinnati staff and players.
The county commission’s legislation wasn’t site specific, so the county won't have to vote again on the deal.
Major League Soccer
None of this much matters unless Major League Soccer actually invites FC Cincinnati to join the league.
Maybe the league’s owners will be moved to finally vote on the matter once the school board and city council give their blessing on the West End project.
MLS owners are expected to meet next week on April 17.
FC Cincinnati hopes to have bought up roughly 75 percent of the West End properties needed for the stadium site by that date, according to documents the soccer club provided to the school board.
The property acquisition and political show of support could spur MLS to finally make the announcement the club and its fans have long anticipated.