Viewpoints: Trading Austin park for MLS stadium should go to voters

  • Editorial Board
4:47 p.m Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 Opinion
Butler Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park includes ball fields and is close to downtown Austin, Barton Springs and Lady Bird Lake. (Zach Ryall/American-Statesman)

In setting the table for Major League Soccer coming to Austin, we offer this advice to Precourt Sports Ventures, which owns Columbus Crew SC: Don’t pretend Central Texans don’t drive; don’t be stingy with community benefits; and let Austin residents vote.

Certainly, it’s easy to envision MLS in Austin’s core. Soccer is the kind of sport that fits with the city’s cultural and international profile. Austin is home to Formula One racing and the Austin City Limits and South by Southwest festivals — all attract a global following. With a thriving college, tech and entertainment scene and an ethnically diverse population, Austin seems ideal for MLS.

Some surveys show strong community support for the Precourt proposal that could bring world-class soccer matches to Austin by 2019. A recent poll by Austin-based Opinion Analysts showed that voters would most likely welcome the sport, with a majority approving the use of underutilized parkland to house a privately financed stadium.

Even with such momentum, however, the deal is far from done because of practical details, such as Precourt Sports’ proposal to acquire city-owned land for its stadium instead of private property. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

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