CMHA approves option for FC Cincinnati to buy residential property in West End
WEST END, Ohio (WKRC) - As Cincinnati waits to find out if Major League Soccer will call up FC Cincinnati to the big leagues, the club is now a step closer to buying land and building homes in The West End.
On Tuesday night, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority Board of Commissioners voted to give FC Cincinnati the option to buy land with the plan to build houses.
The properties sit north of Ezzard Charles Boulevard Up to Liberty Street bordered by Linn and John Streets. The option also includes a larger lot catty-corner to Taft High School.
FC Cincinnati has a year to do inspections and test and to finalize a purchase.
Four people spoke to the board before it made its decision. Three adamantly spoke out against FC Cincinnati moving into the neighborhood.
"That’s where our babies walk to school. Some of them walk by themselves. So if you take that path from them you’re going reroute the babies for a stadium? I can’t see that happening," said Contina Davis, who spoke first.
Ann Sesler spoke on behalf of FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding who was not in attendance and told the crowd the land would not be used to build a stadium but to build houses.
“FCC has no interest in building a stadium on these parcels. The team’s interest is to take parcels that have been vacant since the initial housing development and put energy behind getting new homes built here. That is it,” said Sesler.
New houses, businesses, retail space is something Davis is also scared of coming to her neighborhood.
“The climate has changed in Over-The-Rhine. All the new bars, the new housing that nobody can afford, the new clubs that are coming up. The churches aren’t even churches anymore in Over-The-Rhine. With all those changes, there’s the potential for those changes to come downward into the West End,” said Davis.
It is unclear when the MLS will choose its next team from the remaining finalist, Cincinnati, Sacramento and Detroit.
FC Cincinnati ownership has pledged $200 million for its stadium. Public money would be needed for infrastructure.