COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN)--New details are coming out about what the city of Columbus and its partners were offering as possible stadium sites downtown for Columbus Crew SC, in an effort to keep the team from moving to Austin, Texas.
Mayor Andrew Ginther sent a letter to officials for Crew SC, which was also signed by the head of the Columbus Partnership, ahead of the team's playoff game Wednesday night in Toronto.
It reiterates the offers made in the meeting with representatives of Columbus Crew SC and MLS that was held in New York earlier this month. City officials offered up Berliner Park and Dodge Park as possible sites for a new stadium.
Ginther added that a redevelopment of the Ohio Expo Center was also put on the table.
Following that meeting in new York, both sides left it indicating the other side was not willing to listen to them. In October, news broke that Crew SC Owner Anthony Precourt is considering moving the team to Texas after the 2018 MLS season if a new downtown soccer-specific stadium is not built.
Regarding Wednesday's letter, Ginther released a statement, saying, "Successful community investments are done through partnerships. Smart Columbus, Scioto Greenways, Columbus Commons, the Reeb Center, American Museum on Natural History and the National Veterans Memorial Museum are all examples of public and private entity’s ability to collaborate.
The Columbus Crew SC could be another such success. The business community, loyal fan base and public institutions stand ready to begin turning this partnership into a reality.
Today, Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, and I sent a letter to MLS and owner Anthony Precourt, recapping our discussion in New York.
Imagine a bustling “stadium central” Downtown, with three professional sports arenas right in the heart of the city. Or envision a riverfront stadium on the Southwest Side, with ample park land to develop. Or what if we started fresh where the stadium is now, with a new state-of-the-art stadium adjacent to a destination entertainment district? And picture if the Crew was partly owned by the fans – the lifeblood of the team’s support.
But partnerships are a two-way street. We need a commitment from the Crew owner and MLS to keep the team in Columbus. We need to be able to operate in a good-faith environment – not compete with another city for the financial gain of the owner.
I believe in the Columbus Crew SC – and I believe they belong right here, in the capital of Ohio.
I believe there is a collaborative solution that works for everyone involved.I believe professional soccer has a strong future in Columbus.
I believe. Do you?"