Saturday, January 14, 2017

But can Deaf Gahan somehow outbid Louisville for soccer stadium economic development nirvana?

Previously: ON THE AVENUES: Gahan's stadium arcadium kicks off a new year with hilarity, pathos and own goals.

Now that Jeffersonville has sensibly opted out of the spectacle, New Albany remains part of this story line primarily because the American pastime of sports stadium building requires two municipalities to be played against each other. It makes no sense any other way.

Some council members open to helping soccer club build stadium, by Boris Ladwig (Insider Louisville)

A few Louisville Metro Council members say they are open to providing some government incentives to help Louisville City FC build a soccer stadium in Louisville.

Club management reminds recalcitrant Louisville politicos that the bait's still dangling over on the Sunny Side, where some public officials have been known to "take" used chewing gum in route to their quadrennial spawning grounds.

LouCity Chairman John Neace has said that without a soccer-specific stadium, the club probably would leave Louisville because it cannot generate enough revenue from sponsorships and concessions. All of the concession sales at each LouCity home game go to the baseball team, as do up to $15,000 of LouCity’s annual suite sales. Neace said the soccer club lost more than $1 million last year.

Club officials have said that they would prefer building a stadium in Louisville — but they have not ruled out locations in Southern Indiana. City officials in New Albany, for example, have told IL that they’ve had preliminary discussions with Neace about developing a stadium there. Neace pegged the stadium cost at about $25 million. The club plans to release more detailed proposals in about a month.

But here's the observation that best captures the "business as usual" aspect of it.

Mayor Fischer’s office last week referred IL’s questions to Louisville Forward, the metro government’s economic development arm, which declined to answer questions about whether it would be open to considering specific types of incentives, such as direct financial support, a tax moratorium or the creation of a tax increment financing district. Louisville Forward directed IL to an FAQ that it released along with the feasibility study, in which the city says that it has not yet decided to participate in building the stadium.

It's economic development, y'all -- and isn't Eastridge Drive desperately in need of some?

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