By Jessica Machetta
A plan to help fund a proposed $200 million professional soccer stadium in St. Louis has been delayed again by an alderman committee. The bill would ask St. Louis city taxpayers for $60 million to help build the stadium.
Some say the bill must pass the full Board of Aldermen by Tuesday to make the April 4 ballot, unless a court steps in and grants an extension. It’s unknown if a committee vote will be rescheduled. Tim O’Connell, city clerk and legal council, says the committee must approve the measure by the end of Thursday for it to be taken up by the Board of Aldermen on Friday, which is when the board is next scheduled to meet.
Supporters of the proposal, like President Lewis Reed, say a pro team would have a positive economic impact on the city.
“When we look at the city’s financial conditions, certainly if we do not create opportunities for additional economic growth and economic activity, it’s not like we stay where we are. We continue to lose ground,” says Lewis.
Alderman Antonio French says the measure didn’t appear to have enough favorable votes on Thursday, causing the committee to delay a vote until Monday. Whether that was the same reason for Monday’s delay is unknown.
“We have a lot more pressing needs in the city of St. Louis. We are not addressing the public safety needs, the crime needs. Instead, we are going to vote on two stadium improvements before we address the things people really want to see in their neighborhoods. The majority of the committee wasn’t going for it,” says French.
He says the city already faces a $20 million budget shortfall.