FC Cincinnati to continue renegotiating West End Community Benefits Agreement

FC Cincinnati to continue renegotiating West End Community Benefits Agreement
With the clock ticking on FC Cincinnati to choose a stadium location, the club has set a March 31 deadline to announce its selection. (WXIX)

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.

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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