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) -
Why not build a soccer stadium in Oakley or Newport?
"Experience shows that successful MLS teams have stadiums in the urban core," reads a statement released Thursday by FC Cincinnati President and General Manager Jeff Berding.
The statement comes a day after Cincinnati Public Schools said it was willing to continue a discussion with the club regarding a West End stadium (after that deal recently appeared to fall through).
Berding's statement can be read in full below, but here are a couple of snippets regarding Oakley and Newport:
"We do not believe Oakley is the best fit for a move into MLS at this time..."
"We have not been able to reach an agreement on site development and financing plans (in Newport)..."
Cincinnati has been vying for a Major League Soccer expansion bid against Detroit and Sacramento for several months. Nashville was granted one of the two available 2020 bids earlier this year.
In the lead up to March 31 and the effort to identify a workable stadium site, people have asked why not build the stadium in Oakley or Newport since the West End lacked necessary political support.
Experience shows that successful MLS teams have stadiums in the urban core. While we believe in Oakley, it is not as close to the urban core as desired. FCC ownership has acquired additional property near the proposed stadium site to allow for a more significant development to provide a more vibrant and urban environment to support the stadium, sponsored a traffic study to understand necessary public improvements required for the site, and engaged the Oakley Community Council. But we do not believe Oakley is the best fit for a move into MLS at this time.
In Newport, we would happily build our stadium at the Ovation site, and appreciate all the support from the business, civic and neighborhood communities in Northern Kentucky. However, we have not been able to reach agreement on site development and financing plans with Corporex.
We have worked for nearly three months in the West End, engaging neighborhood stakeholders, CPS, elected officials and others in a variety of public meetings and private discussions. While we have yet to achieve necessary political support to advance plans for a privately financed stadium in the West End, we continue to engage elected leaders in Cincinnati to build a winning partnership here in the City.
We hope to have the support from necessary stakeholders needed to bring Major League Soccer and a privately funded stadium to Greater Cincinnati.
Finally and most importantly, we want to thank our tremendous supporters for making FC Cincinnati what it is today and for your patience through this MLS and related stadium process. While we continue to work, we are pleased to begin the home part of our 2018 schedule this Saturday at Nippert Stadium, where our undefeated team will take on our rivals from Louisville at 7 PM.