As MLS bid hangs in balance, FC Cincinnati submits option to buy land in West End

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - FC Cincinnati has submitted to the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority an option to buy land in the West End, FOX19 NOW has learned.

The team still needs to present to the CMHA board for consideration and approval.

This past year FC Cincinnati, along with teams in Sacramento, Nashville, and Detroit were named finalists for MLS expansion bids in 2020. In November, the team secured a site in Oakley for the purpose of potentially building a stadium. This was part of an effort to get their ducks in a row prior to a presentation to Major League Soccer -- a presentation that, according to MLS and the team, needed plans for a soccer-specific stadium to be competitive.

Late in 2017, Nashville received one of the two available 2020 bids. The thought is Cincinnati will find out about that second slot by (probably) March.

FC Cincinnati said in late November it was going to use the Oakley site plans in its pitch for the MLS bid. But plans can change, as we've seen with this week's news regarding the West End.

Earlier this week, FCC General Manager and President Jeff Berding sent a letter to the Cincinnati Public Schools board regarding a partnership.

"We would welcome, at the appropriate time, a meeting to discuss a potential FCC-CPS partnership in the event we choose to pursue a West End stadium location," the letter said.

Berding did not specifically mention Taft High School's Stargel Stadium in the letter, a spot rumored to be a part of the West End land needed.

Robert Killing, Jr., the financial secretary for the West End Community Council said beinging such a large venue to the area has its pluses and minuses.

"What I don't think would be positive if we are talking about tearing down housing - causing that kind of displacement. We have a shortage of housing especially affordable housing in the community," he said.

The Cincinnati School board does plan on meeting with FCC within the next week.

The Oakley site -- for which City Council and the Hamilton County commissioners have approved a combined $51 million in infrastructure support -- remains in play, Berding wrote in the letter.

To learn more about the Housing Authority and what it does, click or tap here.

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