FC Cincinnati to continue renegotiating West End Community Benef - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

FC Cincinnati to continue renegotiating West End Community Benefits Agreement

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

FC Cincinnati leaders are scheduled to meet again with West End leaders on Wednesday after a Saturday meeting failed to bring an agreement between the two parties on the Community Benefits Agreement, said Anne Sesler, spokesperson for FC Cincinnati.

Sesler said that the parties were not able to finish negotiations at Saturday’s meeting and they have decided to meet again Wednesday morning.

FC Cincinnati leaders are urging Cincinnati City Council to proceed with finalizing the stadium agreement using the existing CBA because they are concerned that negotiations may be lengthy and could derail a deal with Major League Soccer for acceptance into the league, according to the statement.

FC Cincinnati leaders said in the statement that they are willing to make "reasonable improvements" to the CBA if suggestions are "brought forward over the next few days."

Opponents of the stadium deal, Coalition Against an FC Cincinnati Stadium in West End, recently attempted to put a referendum on the ballot, but the city law department concluded that because the stadium deal ordinance passed as an emergency ordinance it is not subject to a referendum, according to The Enquirer.

The emergency ordinance passed required a CBA to be approved by City Council before money for the stadium project is given out.

In April, the former President of West End Community Council Keith Blake signed a CBA, but members of the West End council and community voiced concerns that they did not have enough input into the agreement and moved to impeach Blake.

The West End Community Council did not ratify the agreement so they are engaging in a renegotiation of the CBA with FC Cincinnati.

FC Cincinnati released the following statement about Sunday’s meeting.

“Today leaders representing FC Cincinnati (FCC) met with a group of West End community stakeholders in a meeting convened by City Council Member David Mann for purposes of discussing their proposed changes to the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). This meeting has been on the schedule for two weeks to allow time for West End stakeholders to develop consensus and was held four weeks since FCC reached a CBA with the West End Community Council executive board. 

Unfortunately, of a 90-minute meeting, over 75 minutes involved West End representatives meeting among themselves, only to emerge without a consensus on their proposed changes.  Shortly thereafter, the meeting was adjourned.  Out of respect for the neighborhood, FCC has agreed to meet with representatives of the group again Wednesday morning, if they are successful in adopting a consensus. 

During our 4-month West End campaign, our grassroots conversations led to strong majority support from West End residents and culminated in approval of our development plan by Cincinnati City Council. 

As stated last week, FC Cincinnati is eager to finalize agreements with the City, County, Redevelopment Authority and CPS so the team can have a 100% complete bid for Major League Soccer. We have agreed to a historic CBA with the West End Executive Board and the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority and stand proudly behind our commitments.  

For now, we urge City Council to proceed with the existing CBA, given it is clear that a consensus from various West End stakeholders may not come together in a timely fashion. FC Cincinnati is willing to make reasonable improvements to the CBA, if such suggestions are brought forward over the next few days. But we cannot allow Greater Cincinnati to lose out on MLS expansion due to neighborhood infighting. A CBA has never been required before and should not be a barrier to what will be a transformative development in the West End and throughout the region.”

The West End Community Council was contacted by FOX19NOW for a response to FC Cincinnati’s statement, but has not yet responded.

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