SBD/Issue 198/Facilities & Venues

County Rejects RSL Stadium Plan, Relocation Possible

The Salt Lake County Council voted 5-4 yesterday to reject a funding plan that would have “shifted $30[M] in hotel-tax dollars to Sandy to cover infrastructure costs” for an MLS Real Salt Lake stadium, according to Dethman & Nielson-Stowell of the DESERET NEWS. This is the second time in three months county officials have rejected a public-funding plan. Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon denied the original plan in May. Several local politicians “are hunting for options to try to keep the team in Salt Lake County.” Council member Jenny Wilson “pushed the idea of keeping” RSL at Rice-Eccles Stadium for a one-time cost of $2.5M, but the council voted against the idea. Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson again asked the council to “consider his plan to build the stadium at the Utah State Fairpark.” But Utah state Rep. Greg Curtis said that the plan “has no legislative support,” and added that the “only available option for the team to stay in Utah is for another city to hatch a plan.” RSL’s Rice-Eccles Stadium lease expires after the ’07 season (DESERET NEWS, 7/12).

MOVE ON HORIZON? RSL Owner Dave Checketts said the vote “puts the future of the club in Utah in serious jeopardy.” MLS Commissioner Don Garber gave a “grim analysis hours after digesting the news.” Garber: “We can’t allow that team to stay in that market unless we have some vision for a soccer-specific stadium.” Checketts also owns the Blues, and there are reports that the team is “looking at moving” to St. Louis. Other potential sites include Portland, Phoenix and Rochester, New York. Anderson said that investors in Rochester “are willing to offer Checketts ‘three times’ what he paid for the franchise” (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 7/12).

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