Which suitor will win FC Cincinnati's practice facility?

Counties line up to build FCC practice facility
Posted at 10:33 PM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 00:38:59-04

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a soccer team in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a place to play. 

However little known the feelings or views of such a team may be on its first entering a community, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding tourism boards that the project is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their counties.

Although most projections place FC Cincinnati's future stadium in either Newport or Cincinnati proper, Clermont and Butler county officials said Tuesday night they had not given up hope for a soccer-related windfall in the form of an FC practice facility.

Such a facility would bring millions in travel and tourism dollars for the community that housed it, according to Jim Comodeca of the Clermont County convention and visitor's bureau.

"Everybody is trying to get it because it's an economic boon to whatever community is able to get the training facility," he said.

Comodeca said the team expressed interest in a Clermont County site at one point but then took a step back. He hopes the county can still win FC Cincinnati over.

"The response from CVB was, OK, what are we doing to do next? We're not going to quit, we're not going to say that we don't want the facility here," he said. "We're going to come up with alternatives for you."

To that end, Comodeca said he wanted the county board of commissioners to pass a one percent hotel tax increase in order to shore up funds for that or other future projects. 

But Butler County is in the mix, too. An FC Cincinnati training center would be a significant victory for West Chester, said board of trustees president Mark Welch. 

"The FC practice facility in any community is going to bring business, and it's going to bring in a lot of people that are soccer players," he said. "It's going to help drive the velocity of money in our community."

FC Cincinnati has not indicated a preference in one direction or the other, and neither county has taken concrete action toward securing a contract, team president Jeff Berding said. For now, it will size up its options and continue to -- excuse us -- play the field.

"We are talking to numerous counties about prospectively building our FCC training center there, and exploring potential partnerships to support public infrastructure such as roads, land help, etc," Berding wrote in an email. "The current debate in Clermont County appears to be more about local politics than FC Cincinnati."