Cincinnati’s bid to secure a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise has suffered a major blow after Oakland Community Council (OCC) rejected a proposed public-funding plan for a new stadium that would house the team.
Earlier this year, United Soccer League club FC Cincinnati unveiled designs for a proposed 21,000-capacity stadium in Oakley Station as part of the bid. Plans had been in place to spend $37m (€31m/£27.8m) in public money for infrastructure related to the venue.
However, ahead of a City Council vote today (Monday) on the proposal OCC last night rejected the funding plan, raising serious doubts over the future of the project, which, in total, is expected to cost approximately $200m.
According to the Cincinnati.com website, the council expressed concerns about the stadium potentially using up all tax-increment financing money in the area and, as a result, threatening the progress of other projects in the region.
OCC president Sean Fausto added: “The OCC Board believes that this proposal could be detrimental to the long-term development needs of Oakley. Current development projects within Oakley have requested access to these same TIF funds, including one project co-sponsored by the city and the Oakley Community Council.”
The ruling comes after the OCC Board earlier this month voted to back a stadium vision presented by FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding, but Fausto said this “did not include, and the OCC Board neither discussed nor took action with regards to, any details of the financing for the FC Cincinnati stadium or the public infrastructure improvements”.
Cincinnati is one of a number of cities bidding for an MLS expansion franchise, with many of the other interested parties also including plans for a new stadium in their proposals.