Our civic stadium angst went into double overtime this week.
As Major League Soccer neared its deadline to select new franchises, FC Cincinnati announced that the club's owners have selected a site in the city's Oakley neighborhood. What's more, the owners (who include local billionaires Carl Lindner III and Scott Farmer) would foot the entire $200 million bill for a new stadium. However, they still seek $75 million in public financing for roads, sewers and other infrastructure.
The next day, Hamilton County commissioners, who are expected to come up with some of that money, said t hey'd really rather the club play in county-owned Paul Brown Stadium . But if that's unacceptable, then -- ok, whatever -- they've got a Plan B to use some money to pay for a parking garage.
Meanwhile, across the Ohio, the city of Newport is waiting in the wings in case the whole Cincinnati plan falls apart.
And clouding the whole conversation is the financial and emotional baggage the citizens of Greater Cincinnati carry around from the last stadium deal. Sure, it was 20 years ago, but the pain still lingers.
All of this stadium anxiety had our What You Said staff wondering: What about beautiful Nippert Stadium? You know, the place where FC Cincinnati plays now to exuberant crowds that average 21,000 people a game? That place.
So we asked you, our audience, and as usual, you had lots of opinions on the matter.
Lots of you thought Nippert was perfect.
David Mabo noted that we already have two perfectly fine stadiums where soccer is played or can be played:
Rich Foster, Chad Delaney and others said, essentially, 'Why mess with success?'
Others predict an increase in ticket prices with a move to a brand new stadium. An FCC game at Nippert can be attended for as low as $10. Tom Lorenz emailed:
Since the economy crashed in 2008, the Reds and Bengals have not been able to sell out the games, because ticket prices, parking, and concessions are just not affordable anymore.
FC prices are much less, making them affordable to younger people especially. Fans will be driven away by high priced tickets in a new stadium.
But others accept what club GM Jeff Berding and MLS officials have said -- that MLS requires a "soccer-specific" stadium in order to receive one of the new franchises. What is about "NO" that you don't get, asked Suzie McGuire Langen:
And Patrick Muncie emailed that MLS is holding the cards on this:
It's a simple choice. If you're an FCC fan comfortable with the team staying in an entertaining yet second-tier league, then let's talk about Nippert or Paul Brown. But if you want to win the expansion bid, then call on local leaders to do what it takes to cement a legacy project for the city of Cincinnati.
And we don't want to leave out one of the more creative suggestions we received:
Next week, we'll ask your opinion on another topic. In the meantime, you can go to our Facebook page or Twitter and share your thoughts there. You can share your opinions in the form of text, photos, video, drawings or audio recordings.
And take a look at our Feedback Friday page for another way to express your what's on your mind.