As the weekly soap opera that is the MLS2STL continues, news broke today from Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia that a new request for a hearing about the efforts to use tax dollars from the city for an MLS specific stadium. The new version doesn’t ask for the $80M that was previously asked for, but a reduced $60M rate.
While details so far are just the statement given to the press above, it shows that SC STL is (at this time) serious and willing to negotiate to get an MLS team in St. Louis. Though it is not clear if that $20M means a reduction of stadium cost or if the ownership group is going to pay up the extra. Hopefully soon we get more details to figure out why SC STL is willing to cut so much off their original demands that they said were needed in order to get the deal done.
While we should be happy that SC STL and the city of St. Louis are trying to figure out how to get this deal done to help a city that was abused and tossed aside by the NFL. We also need to see more openness from all parties involved involving financing and what issues we have with funding. Questions that must be answered and solved.
While the number isn’t exact, the city roughly is responsible for a $1.8B budget and is facing issues involving crime, school funding, and money tied up in other projects. The County of St. Louis is not involved with this deal, though arguable the bulk of the fans that will fill the stadium would come from the county. Plus, the stadium would likely be used for events other than just professional soccer, things like state tournaments and club sport events will more than likely happen, that benefits the county as well. It is curious as to why the County of St. Louis or St. Charles are not involved in this deal, nor are any local schools/universities (if legal or practical for them to contribute).
Finally, according to a recently released video from governor Eric Greitens the state budget is in worse shape than anticipated. He called for more than $170M in cuts and in his State of the State address he talked about the inefficiencies of Missouri’s government that rack up massive bills. His cuts follow suit from Jay Nixon who made before leaving office. Which means that there are issues with funding from the state at this time.
This stadium soap opera also brings up the issue of why the stadium should cost $200M. According to this reporters research of the ten most recently finished soccer specific stadiums ( currently six other stadiums are underway) the average price (adjusted for inflation) is $135.9M. Only Red Bull Arena and Sporting Park would today cost more than $200M today. (New York is building a $300M stadium called Corona Park in Queens)
Couldn’t SC STL build a stadium at a cost of $150M?
Will issues like this finally begin talks about merging county and city? Or at least opening partnerships easier?
Who knows, but time will tell if this soap opera will end with us getting the girl, or will be a never ending saga.
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