Council members want to remove parkland from MLS stadium consideration

Austin MLS soccer stadium rendering. (Precourt Sports Ventures)
Austin MLS soccer stadium rendering. (Precourt Sports Ventures)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the owners of a Major League Soccer team considers where to possibly build a new stadium in Austin, some council members want to narrow that list even further and exclude parkland from the options. That would mean Precourt Sports Ventures’ top pick, Butler Shores, would not be able to be built.

“We are taking this action because we believe as our city grows we must protect our parkland. Parks are a legacy for the people of Austin’s future and losing valuable parkland for private, for-profit uses is not appropriate for our city,” read a letter from four Austin City Council Members posted in a city forum.

Precourt Sports Ventures announced in October that it was considering moving the Columbus Crew to Texas’ capital city. The city of Austin put out a list of possible sites on city-owned land in December, and in January Precourt Sports Ventures picked its top three spots: Butler Shores at Town Lake Metro Park/Toomey Fields, Guerrero Metro Park and 10414 McKalla Place. From the beginning, the group said Butler Shores (near Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake in south Austin) was a “virtually perfect” location.

However, four Austin City Council members plan to introduce a resolution to remove city parkland from consideration — which means no Butler Shores and no Guerrero Metro Park. The resolution also asks city staff to provide more in-depth analysis of the last location, which is near the Domain. The resolution would be voted on at the Feb. 15 meeting.

Precourt Sports Ventures president Dave Greeley said in a statement that he recognizes many are concerned about putting a soccer stadium on parkland. It said it has researched each possible site, including “comprehensive work” at Butler Shores including traffic, parking, lights and sound studies. It plans to share the findings with the community and city council ahead of the meeting.

“Before any of the sites are removed from consideration, we hope council will allow us the opportunity to demonstrate potential parkland improvements and community impact and benefits for Butler Shores or any of the other potential sites, which could lead to the possibility of a public vote,” Greeley said.

The group MLS2ATX also sent out an email to its supporters stating “city leaders are backing down as a result of pressure from a vocal minority.” The group is urging supporters to contact the Austin City Council to voice their concerns.

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