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Columbus Crew: Austin City Council drafts resolution to study Precourt’s preferred site

Oct 31, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew SC forward Federico Higuain (10) appeals to the official during the game against New York City FC during the Eastern Conference semifinal at MAPFRE Stadium. (Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports)

The second city council resolution to focus on Precourt Sports Ventures’ possible move of Crew SC to Austin, Texas, after the 2018 season has taken shape.

Austin Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo drafted a resolution that, if passed, would direct the city manager to conduct an analysis of the 24-acre McKalla Place site in north Austin that includes an economic analysis of direct and indirect benefits, financial opportunities and challenges, traffic considerations and a community engagement plan with stakeholders.

The draft resolution comes only days after Crew SC investor-operator Anthony Precourt published a statement to the Precourt Sports Ventures-run shifting the focus of the ownership group’s stadium site search in Austin to McKalla Place.

“We’re looking forward to working together with the city as we continue to assess the viability of this site,” Precourt said in the statement.

The resolution has been posted along with a corresponding agenda item for Austin City Council’s March 22 meeting. In a Thursday post to the Austin City Council message board, Tovo said she will move to postpone the resolution to April 12, April 26 or “some other date” to accommodate council member absences.

Council members Leslie Pool, Sabino “Pio” Renteria and Ann Kitchen join Tovo and Mayor Steve Adler as the resolution’s co-sponsors.

City staff is directed in the resolution to “provide a detailed description of the community benefits” potentially generated by a Major League Soccer team, including youth and other programs and employment and revenue-sharing opportunities.

June 1, 2018 is the listed date for city staff to respond to the resolution. It is not immediately clear whether that date will be changed if the agenda item is postponed.

Austin City Council in November passed a resolution instructing city staff to identify city-owned land, including underutilized parkland, that might be able to accommodate a Major League Soccer stadium and/or practice facility.

A little more than a month later, Kimberly McNeeley, acting director of Austin’s parks and recreation department, identified eight sites, including McKalla Place, in a detailed report. Earlier this year, McNeeley indicated in a memo that analysis and stakeholder outreach for any “consensus” MLS stadium site will take approximately three months.

(c)2018 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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