Austin Residents Oppose Handouts for Precourt Stadium Plan

Walker Evans Walker Evans Austin Residents Oppose Handouts for Precourt Stadium PlanRendering via Gensler, TBG and CAA ICON.
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While many Columbus residents have been rejoicing at the recent news that their pro soccer team is here to stay, Austin residents have been gathering signatures to show their opposition for subsidizing a new stadium.

The current owner of the Columbus Crew SC, Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV), has been working on a proposal to build a new stadium on a 24-acre site owned by the City of Austin known as McKalla Place, but a group of residents don’t want to see public dollars used in the process.

“This deal is a poor policy decision and it places a huge burden on Austin taxpayers just so a California billionaire can turn a profit on his professional sports team,” stated a representative of Friends of McKalla Place in a release issued today. “The lease terms were rushed through under false deadlines and a flashy PR campaign, and this giveaway of hundreds of millions of dollars in lost property taxes means local businesses, homeowners and renters will have to make up the difference. Austin is barely affordable as it is, and this bad deal only makes the situation worse for the rest of us.”

The Friends of McKalla Place group delivered 29,000 signatures of registered voters in Austin to the City Clerk today, seeking a public vote on any ordinance that would sell or lease city-owned land for the purpose of constructing a privately owned sports facility. The current lease agreement developed between the City of Austin and PSV includes no rent for the first five years, below-market rental rates afterward and a 20 year property tax exemption.

Plans for a new Crew SC stadium in Columbus call for the private funding of a 28-acre mixed-use development, with $100 million in public sector funding from the City of Columbus and Franklin County going toward infrastructure, a community sports park on the site of the old Mapfre Stadium and the creation of a new Community Authority.

Concerned Austonites say that the deal for PSV in their city would be harmful by denying funding to their travel bureau, public school system, community college and public health system.

“This terrible stadium deal totally disregards economic research regarding the lack of long-term economic stimulation of sports stadiums and the different jurisdictions that rely on the property tax dollars that should be generated from McKalla Place,” stated Dr. Craig Nazor in the press release from Friends of McKalla Place. “What’s even worse is how our City Council could even consider this kind of giveaway when Austin desperately needs affordable housing and mobility solutions. Perhaps most importantly, it denies the people their voice in how our public land is used.”

READ MORE: Opinion: Columbus Deserves Nice Things

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