Austin City Council postpones decision on Crew stadium to next week

Local News
Austin City Council is filled as supporters and opponents of MLS stadium gather to share their opinion on Aug-846655081. 9, 2018

AUSTIN, TX (KXAN/AP) — Austin City Council is getting closer to a decision on the future of Major League Soccer in Austin, but decided to delay the vote to next week.

Some council members said they needed time to read through each other’s amendments. 

MLS will be taken up again at a special called meeting on Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m. 

Richard Suttle, a lawyer representing Anthony Precourt of Precourt Sports Ventures — which owns the team that plans to come to Austin — says he sees “poison pills” in some of the amendments added by council members Thursday night.

Suttle says he will have to speak to Major League Soccer Friday to see if they can get an extension.

More than 200 people signed up to speak to make sure council members hear their perspective before the big vote.

Council was discussing whether to move forward with negotiations or take a more serious look at other options for the city-owned land at McKalla Place — a lot located at Burnet Road and West Braker Lane.

The proposal would include open park space, a performance/entertainment area and parking, on top of the 20,000-seat stadium.

With 229 people signing up to speak in support of making it happen and 48 against, critics say the proposal values wants more than the city’s transportation and affordable housing needs.

It comes at a time when we’re talking about a nearly billion dollar bond proposal and higher property taxes. 

Linda Curtis with Indy Austin, a group that works to put big decisions straight to the voters, said, “You gotta tell me, what is the rush for MLS?”

She said, “We’ll see what comes out of the sausage maker, as they say. But do not deny the citizens to vote on the big deals.”

An MLS fan, David Thomas, took Thursday and Friday off work to be at Council for the vote. “They should consider that McKalla Place has been idle for a long time… and now I think it’s interesting all these people are coming out of the woodwork with proposals,” Thomas says, “but I think the soccer stadium is the best proposal. When it comes to long-term financial benefits to the city…”

The Crew has played in Columbus since MLS began in 1996.

Columbus hasn’t been willing to give up its team without a fight. Fan groups have rallied support and a state lawsuit has been filed to block a move. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has said the league is reluctant to see one of the original franchises move, but has backed Precourt’s desire to look for a new home.

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