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Paul Brown Stadium officially out as a home for FC Cincinnati

'It's time to move on to Plan B'
Posted at 11:19 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 07:48:21-05

CINCINNATI -- As far as FC Cincinnati is concerned, Paul Brown Stadium is a dead end as a permanent home for the team.

At least one county commissioner reached that conclusion herself Monday night.

"It's time to move on to Plan B," Commissioner Denise Driehaus said. 

Driehaus confirmed she was "comfortable with ending the conversation about Paul Brown Stadium" and moving on to another option: Funding a $15 million parking garage near the team's preferred construction site in Oakley. 

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters claims Paul Brown Stadium was never legally an option despite the commission's attempts to offer it to the team in lieu of funding the new, soccer-specific stadium Major League Soccer requires of its members.

The terms of its lease wouldn't allow FC Cincinnati to make a home there -- a fact Deters claimed the commission knew as early as September.

"I don't understand why some of the commissioners continue to pursue this dead end," he said. "There is absolutely no chance they are going to play soccer at Paul Brown Stadium. Zero. The lease for PBS is not going to permit this, and neither will Major League Soccer."

Yet his own office released a memo in October that suggested otherwise. 

"Following the first 10 years of the lease, the county has the right to negotiate with a professional soccer franchise to allow professional soccer games to be played at Paul Brown Stadium," an October memo from the prosecutor's office reads. 

Hamilton County memo on FC Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium by WCPO Web Team on Scribd

That plan still leaves a funding hole at the new stadium site with no clear plan for a patch. The team will pay $200 million for the structure itself, but the onus of paying $75 million in infrastructure to support it -- roads, for instance -- rests on local government. Mayor John Cranley has a $62 million financing plan that is expected to cover $37 million worth of infrastructure for the stadium. The deal is contingent on the county paying for the parking garage. All told, that still leaves a gap of about $23 million.

WCPO reached out to Todd Portune for comment Monday night, but did not receive a response. Commissioner Chris Monzel agreed with Driehaus that Paul Brown Stadium was no longer an option.