Cincinnati could approve $63m stadium subsidy today, get MLS team tomorrow

The Cincinnati city council is set to vote on approval for an F.C. Cincinnati soccer stadium in the West End today at 4 p.m., which could lead to the city being awarded an MLS franchise as soon as tomorrow:

The vote would come just ahead of Tuesday’s Major League Soccer board of governors meeting in New York City. MLS has twice delayed awarding the next round of franchises, although Nashville did get one in late December. FC Cincinnati is in competition with Sacramento and Detroit.

Five votes are needed to pass the stadium plan, which would involve $63 million in public subsidies, and right now there are four sure votes, with councilmember Jeff Pastor reportedly holding out for a written community benefits agreement before signing off on the funds. Team president Jeff Berding, though, says he’s confident Pastor will vote yes:

“We’ve had great leadership at City Hall. I expect that tomorrow the ordinances that provide the public infrastructure to support our privately funded stadium will be approved,” Berding said Sunday after three days of last-ditch meetings in hopes of sealing the deal…

Berding said he worked through the weekend to meet Pastor’s demand to put the CBA in writing in time for council to review it before it votes at a 4 p.m. special session.

Um, that’s not really a community benefits agreement if you don’t negotiate it with the community, only with one councilmember in secret? [CLARIFICATION: Berding did say he’s been meeting with the West End Community Council to discuss the CBA, or at least with its executive board.] But you know, never mind, far worse deals have been cut for votes in other cities.

If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that the Cincinnati police department has not been leafletting the West End with flyers calling the neighborhood a “high violent crime area” just so that the soccer team owners can buy up land on the cheap. Probably.

9 comments on “Cincinnati could approve $63m stadium subsidy today, get MLS team tomorrow

  1. If you are going to quote an article, quote everything relevant. The statement you pulled did only mention 1 council member, but earlier in the article it clearly talked about “community leaders”. You can parse that any way you want, but it clearly was not a 1-1. It was negotiated with the community.

    “On Friday, we sat down for several hours with the West End Community Council Executive Board to work on a Community Benefits Agreement, which was a condition for Councilman Pastor. Council member Pastor joined our meeting to help urge us to work together and to reach the agreement. I think we’re in a good spot.”

    • Sorry, you’re right, I’d read past that. That’s better, though still not exactly an open public process.

      • I won’t argue that point, although you will never please everyone. There is a community council because we are not truly a democracy where everyone has 100% voice/vote. I just wanted to point out it was not a sidebar agreement.

  2. It would be nice if this was the end of this story being newsworthy, but we all know it won’t be.

    • The biggest parts of the story sre 1: The fact that this deal really should not be that controversial ( because of the Community Benefits Agreement and the amount of private financing), yet it was almost defeated. 2: An increasing opposition to such projects from the people regardless of their political persuasion. Although FC Cincinnati. UAB and the NY Islanders got their new facilities through, the Tampa Bay Rays, Temple.and the Oakland A’s may not be so lucky.

  3. And here I was hoping the project had been blessed/ordained by, you know, an actual Pastor…

  4. I wonder what’s so wrong with the Sacramento bid that Don Garber keeps giving Cincinnati more time to come up with a plan?