Council member absences may slow study of McKalla as MLS stadium site


Highlights

Various council members won’t be present at next two meetings, putting discussion on hold.

Tovo: ‘I remain enthusiastic about continuing this conversation.’

A resolution to direct Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk to conduct a deeper analysis of McKalla Place as a potential site for a Major League Soccer stadium will be put on hold because of several City Council members’ coming absences.

On Friday, Council Member Kathie Tovo posted a soccer item to the March 22 agenda, but since Council Member Leslie Pool, whose District 7 includes the North Austin property near the Domain, will not be available for that meeting, Tovo will move to postpone Item 48.

After March 22, the City Council will take a three-week break. When members return April 12, Tovo, Mayor Steve Adler and Council Members Delia Garza and Ellen Troxclair will be absent, so April 26 becomes the most likely date for soccer to be a topic on the agenda.

A June 1 deadline was set for city staff to deliver a report on the viability of McKalla Place as an MLS stadium and a detailed analysis of the possible community benefits.

Anthony Precourt, owner/operator of Columbus Crew SC, said in a statement Thursday that his efforts to move the team to Austin will now focus on exploring city-owned McKalla Place as the top option for a privately financed stadium. The 24-acre site at the intersection of Braker Lane and Burnet Road was one of five identified by the city staff in December as a possibility.

Precourt’s announcement was greeted with enthusiasm in a lot of quarters because McKalla is not parkland and is on an “underutilized city-owned tract in an industrial area that can be made easily accessible to public transportation,” Adler told the American-Statesman.

McKalla, which has had a history of environmental issues, is being used as a storage site by Austin Water, Resource Recovery and Public Works.

Adler, Pool and Council Members Sabino “Pio” Renteria and Ann Kitchen are co-sponsoring Tovo’s resolution to fully vet McKalla Place.

From February: McKalla Place — the good, bad and ugly for possible MLS stadium site

“I believe this research and engagement will yield a deeper understanding of any challenges, revenue-sharing opportunities and community benefits that could be associated with a Major League Soccer team coming to Austin,” Tovo wrote on a council post late Thursday.

“I do hope we’ll be able to consider the resolution as soon as possible. I remain enthusiastic about continuing this conversation, particularly about the community benefits that could be generated by such a partnership.”

Precourt officials were pleased with Thursday’s developments.

“We are glad to focus on a site that Austinites can support and rally around,” Austin MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle said. “The McKalla site has lots of potential.”

Drew Scheberle, senior vice president for advocacy and policy for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said he is excited that Austin is moving closer to its first major league franchise.

“We are honored that Mr. Precourt would make such a substantial investment in our community, bring nearly 1,000 jobs and further develop our youth programs,” he said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

The Dotted Line: Commitment Q&A with Texas commit, offensive tackle Tyler Johnson
The Dotted Line: Commitment Q&A with Texas commit, offensive tackle Tyler Johnson

Texas gained a commitment from four-star offensive tackle Tyler Johnson on May 28. The Conroe Oak Ridge product is the No. 5-ranked player on the Fabulous 55 and the second-best offensive line product in the state. He’s a unique player with strength, length and the size to be a dominant right tackle. Texas...
Fantasy football Week 2 recap and top waiver wire picks

Some of the overreactions after Week 1 turned out not to be overreactions at all. Pat Mahomes became the youngest quarterback to throw six touchdown passes in a game a week after throwing four touchdowns in Week 1. His ten touchdown passes is the most through two games in NFL history. The Chiefs, and Alex Smith, started out great last season...
Withers: Texas State must address giving up big plays on defense
Withers: Texas State must address giving up big plays on defense

Texas State led South Alabama 24-16 at halftime Saturday — even 31-16 midway through the third quarter — before falling apart in the second half in a 41-31 loss on the road. The Bobcats (1-2, 0-1 Sun Belt) were up 31-16 with 7 minutes left in the third quarter when quarterback Willie Jones III suffered a leg injury. He was replaced by freshman...
Jimbo Fisher knows Saban well — it probably won’t matter when teams meet
Jimbo Fisher knows Saban well — it probably won’t matter when teams meet

Maybe Jimbo Fisher has secret intel about Alabama. Maybe his presence on the Texas A&M sideline will give the Aggies an edge when the teams meet Saturday. Fisher conceded Monday that he can flip on any game film of the Crimson Tide and predict the play. “We just laugh about that,” said Fisher, Texas A&M’s head coach. “I can...
Full 24 hours later, Texas coach Tom Herman ‘pleading’ with Longhorns to move on to TCU
Full 24 hours later, Texas coach Tom Herman ‘pleading’ with Longhorns to move on to TCU

Coaches have their “24-hour rule,” which dictates that players celebrate or commiserate over the last game and then forget about it. That’s all fine and good from a conceptual standpoint. It’s not practical, though. Players spend Sunday on the phone with family members and significant others. On Monday, they see...
More Stories