FC Cincinnati secures Oakley site for soccer stadium - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FC Cincinnati secures Oakley site for soccer stadium

FC Cincinnati fans cheer in the first half of a U.S. Open Cup soccer match against the Columbus Crew, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Cincinnati. FC Cincinnati won 1-0. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) FC Cincinnati fans cheer in the first half of a U.S. Open Cup soccer match against the Columbus Crew, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Cincinnati. FC Cincinnati won 1-0. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

 FC Cincinnati has a legal contract to control a site in Oakley for the purpose of building a stadium, according to team general manager Jeff Berding.

Berding said Tuesday it's the former Cast-Fab Technologies site, near Oakley Station.

This contract would allow the team to buy the land if the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are able to come up with infrastructure funding, according to Berding.

Cincinnati landing an MLS franchise now, essentially, comes down to two things:

  • the city and Hamilton County coming up with enough money for site infrastructure
  • the league then rewarding FC Cincinnati with an expansion bid

MLS owners will gather in December to pick two expansion teams. Cincinnati, Sacramento, and Nashville are on a list of cities in the running for those slots.

The league has said a soccer-specific site is necessary for a winning bid. According to team representatives, FC Cincinnati would privately fund such a stadium, but ask the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to pay for the infrastructure at the site. That infrastructure bill could be at least $75 million.

This has been a topic of much discussion, as county representatives continue to ask why an MLS team in Cincinnati couldn't play at Paul Brown Stadium (the home of the Bengals). A call on that very topic took place this week between FCC, MLS, and Hamilton County officials.

Cincinnati City Council member poses 8 questions in statement against soccer stadium proposal

Here is, in part, what Berding had to say after that call:

The three parties spoke at length regarding Major League Soccer’s stated priority for a soccer-specific stadium as a need for MLS Expansion. Hamilton County officials proposed using Paul Brown Stadium as the future home of FC Cincinnati. The discussion specifically vetted Paul Brown Stadium as it relates to the fan experience, the operational infrastructure as well as the economics to all parties. MLS officials provided answers on why a soccer-specific stadium is a key to a team’s viability and the growth of the League, and therefore is viewed as a priority if FC Cincinnati is to win a bid.

FC Cincinnati has always taken the position that Hamilton County has an obligation to taxpayers to explore PBS, and therefore was pleased to arrange the discussion.

"(Cincinnati) routinely provides public infrastructure support for private investment, and this deal should be viewed in the same light," Mayor John Cranley said this past week, when discussing an infrastructure funding plan he intended to pass along to City Council (which you can read more about here).

City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee has scheduled a special meeting on Nov. 27 at 11 a.m. to discuss stadium infrastructure. It will be held at Cincinnati City Hall, Council Chambers, Room 300, 801 Plum Street.

Part of Cranley's plan involves asking the county to allow Cincinnati to redirect a portion of a hotel/motel tax surplus. According to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hamilton County representatives have said the county would allow this.

Before Tuesday, Newport, Ky. had also been mentioned as a potential landing site for a new FCC stadium. Until the city and county are able to put together the money necessary for Oakley site infrastructure, that Newport site appears to be play.

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