So what’s the latest with that professional soccer team that might be coming to Austin? Well, City Council has decided to hold off on making a decision until their February 15th meeting.
Wait. Back up. What’s going on?
In October, the owner of the professional soccer team Columbus Crew announced that he is exploring moving the team from Ohio to Austin, citing the desire for a downtown stadium as one of the major drivers motivating his decision. The announcement has been marked by excitement for some (it would be Austin’s first professional sports team) and apprehension by others (who fear Columbus Crew might be seeking public funds or favors from Austin taxpayers).
So what’s the latest?
There has already been some talk about two potential sites for the new soccer stadium – Butler Shores and the Travis County Expo Center. Last week, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department added to that list, publishing a memo with a list of eight potential sites for a future soccer stadium and practice field.
- St. John’s Home Depot
- McKalla Property
- Toomey Ballfields (Butler Shores)
- Travis County Expo Center
- Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park
- Walnut Creek Sports Complex
- Bolm Road District Park
- Tony Burger Center
The owner of the Columbus Crew soccer team has already said that he prefers a downtown location for the stadium and has expressed support for the Butler Shores location, even releasing a rendering of what a stadium there would like (see the photo above).
The local environmental organization Save Our Springs Alliance has come out strongly in opposition of a stadium at Butler Shores, writing in a blog post that, “…Austin park land is NOT for sale to anyone at any price-and certainly not water front park land.”
In the blog post, the Save Our Springs Alliance continued on to say that given Austin’s current parkland shortage, the city should only be working to grow our open spaces, as opposed to selling them or giving them away.
Concerns have also been raised over the lack of parking at the Butler Shores location (there would virtually be none).
At a Council work session last week, Council Member Ann Kitchen (who represents Butler Shores and is opposed to building a stadium there) drew particular attention to this, saying that she was really concerned about parking, as well as the effect of increased traffic and noise on nearby residents.
Others have applauded the idea of such a centrally-located attraction, in keeping with the city’s plans to densify Austin’s urban core.