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MLS official: West End stadium 'a positive step' for FC Cincinnati bid

Posted at 7:07 PM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 07:17:00-04

CINCINNATI -- FC Cincinnati's future is now in the hands of Major League Soccer owners, who were meeting in Los Angeles Tuesday. 

In a Tweet Tuesday night, MLS executive vice president of communications Dan Courtemanche said the owners viewed the recent Cincinnati City Council vote "as a positive step forward for Cincinnati's expansion bid." Officials voted Monday to approve funding for infrastructure related to a future FC Cincinnati stadium in the West End.

Back in the Queen City, the West End Community Council was also meeting Tuesday. Community Council President Keith Blake said he can't wait for the process to be over.

"It's been long, it's been unnecessarily antagonistic at times," he said. "I mean, people need to learn to agree to disargee."

Some stadium opponents have even threatened to impeach Blake. A coalition against the stadium announced Monday that they will fight it "at every juncture." Liberty Street Apartments resident Gloria Gray is part of that group. 

"Treat people the way they want to be treated," she said. "We want to get out of poverty."

Gray is watching for a community benefits agreement. One agreed to by the team -- but not the city, yet -- includes $100,000 a year for the next 30 years for community groups, a parking permit program for residents and a plan for affordable housing. 

"If they're coming in and it's with a caring purpose, come on with it, bring it on, we want you," she said. 

Whatever happens, Blake said he did what he thought was best. 

"I wanted to keep the council at the table," he said. "That was my motivation because I didn't believe anyone could stop the stadium from coming to the West End."

Check back for updates on this developing story.