West End group's petition aims to put soccer stadium deal on November ballot

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Two area community groups have come out in support of a referendum petition to put the FC Cincinnati stadium deal on the November ballot.

Cincinnati City Council voted on Monday to approve a proposed funding plan for a 21,000-seat FC Cincinnati stadium in the West End. If MLS awards a franchise to FC Cincinnati, the city would spend $33.8 million for roads and other infrastructure for the stadium. The Community Benefits Agreement would invest FCC money into infrastructure, scholarships, youth sports programs and set up a 15-member Community Advisory Council.

On Friday morning, the Coalition Against an FC Cincinnati Stadium in the West End submitted a petition to City Hall to officially begin a petition drive bringing the stadium deal before the voters of Cincinnati on Nov. 6.

Also Friday, the Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition came out in support of the petition. Members said they've been a vocal opponent of the deal, and do not believe it is in the best interest of the residents of Cincinnati.

Here's a snippet from a release the group put out Friday:

This referendum will let the PEOPLE of Cincinnati decide whether this is a good deal for Cincinnati at the next General Election on November 6, 2018. Over 6,000 valid signatures will be filed with the Board of Elections, signatures of City residents who are registered voters, within the next 30 days. Petitions are available at the Homeless Coalition offices at 117 E 12th Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 during business hours. Or, contact Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition member Michelle Dillingham at 513-602-4260 to make arrangements for pick up or drop off of the petition.

This past year FC Cincinnati was named a finalist for one of two open 2020 MLS expansion bids. Nashville, Sacramento, and Detroit were also named finalists. One of those bids has since gone to Nashville.

Potential soccer stadium sites in Newport, Oakley, and the West End have been discussed throughout the process. The West End site has likely been the most debated site of the three, with former mayors weighing in and fans of the team attending Cincinnati Public School Board meetings.

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