Mapfre Stadium to Become Community Sports Complex
Officials from the City of Columbus, Franklin County and the Columbus Partnership announced a plan for the future of Mapfre Stadium today. They also suggested that more announcements will be forthcoming soon, as a deal to keep the Crew in Columbus under a new ownership group headed up by the Haslam and Edwards families gets closer to being finalized.
UPDATE 12/6 12:40pm — New Crew SC Stadium and Mixed-Use Development Proposed for Downtown
Part of that deal will be a plan for a new stadium, although no new information was revealed today about where that might go or how it would be financed (apart from assurances that the plan will involve a “public-private partnership” of some sort).
A press release stated that the details of the sale of the team and a new stadium are currently being finalized, and that “the city has committed funds for infrastructure and land for a new stadium, while the county will be contributing money as well.”
Mayor Andrew Ginther, at a press conference this morning, said that the Crew is likely to continue to play at Mapfre Stadium for the next two years. After that, the stadium and the parking lots that immediately surround it will be turned into the “Columbus Community Sports Park” featuring the existing stadium, two practice fields for the Crew, six community fields that will be open to the public, and an indoor facility featuring a turf field, programing space and basketball courts.
“We are excited about the possibilities of new ownership of the Columbus Crew and all that will bring to the city,” said Mayor Ginther. “Part of that plan must include reimagining the existing stadium, so we are investing in a community sports complex that will serve the people of Columbus. Nearly 200,000 residents live within three miles of this location. It will benefit residents of all ages and strengthen the connection between the soccer club and the City.”
A public hearing on a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to the plan is scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow at City Hall. City Council is then expected to vote on the MOU at its meeting on December 10.
Council Member Elizabeth Brown said that the quick turnaround is related to a timeline established by Major League Soccer; the league wants to see a deal in place before the end of the year.
County Commissioner Marilyn Brown, after praising the plan for Mapfre Stadium, hinted at bigger news on the horizon.
“Wait until you see the plans going forward on the new facility for the Crew,” she said. “It’s more than a stadium, more than any of you have imagined, it’s about economic development, and (about) creating an economic engine for the community going forward.”
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