CPS board votes unanimously for West End land swap with FCC

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Public School Board has voted unanimously for a land swap with FC Cincinnati in the West End where Stargel Stadium currently sits.

The vote took place around 7 p.m. at a Tuesday meeting.

According to the proposal, FC Cincinnati will pay for the estimated $10 million rebuild of a new Stargel Stadium on a plot of land south of Ezzard Charles Drive and between John St. and Cutter St. The proposal also states that FC Cincinnati will agree to establish partnership with CPS that will, "provide for expanded academic, internship and employment opportunities for Taft High School and CPS students."

"I did hear some things as our administration was talking about that says to me that there's going to be a close relationship, in terms of, encouraging FCC and the city to working closely together on that so we're optimistic about that," said Carolyn Jones, who attended the meeting.

Cincinnati City Council will need five votes to approve the proposal.

"We welcome investment but we don't welcome it on the back of the residents in the West End -- we don't, we don't," said Contina Davis, who also attended Tuesday's meeting.

To be approved, City Council states FC Cincinnati will have to infuse $100,000 a year into the neighborhood for at least 10 years through a community benefits agreement. Details of where the money will go will be decided later with community input, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Last week, Councilmen P.G. Sittenfeld announced another major obstacle had been removed from the deal: FC Cincinnati has agreed to pay Cincinnati Public Schools property taxes equaling 25 percent of the final property value, which according to a tentative agreement with CPS is estimated at $175 million the first year it's built.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 16.

On Tuesday, April 17, the Major League Soccer is expected to meet to consider the last piece of FC Cincinnati's application for an expansion franchise.

FCC general manager Jeff Berding released this statement Tuesday night:

On behalf of FC Cincinnati, I want to thank the Cincinnati Public School Board for their unanimous vote in support of the land exchange and partnership with FC Cincinnati. We look forward to working with the Board and the CPS Administration led by Superintendent Laura Mitchell to develop a new and improved Stargel Stadium and then the FCC stadium that will bring positive development to the West End and benefits for CPS students and families.

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