West End residents protest FC Cincinnati stadium

West End residents protest FC Cincinnati stadium (WKRC)

WEST END, Ohio (WKRC) – The fight is far from over for opponents of an FC Cincinnati soccer stadium in the West End, despite a deal the team struck with Cincinnati Public Schools on Tuesday.

Outside Taft High School, a crowd of residents and activists chanted “Go home FC Cincinnati.”

"It's time that we stand up together. This is happening in Avondale, it's happening in Walnut Hills. The common factor is its black people, its brown people, its poor folks,” said Mona Jenkins.

Gentrification is one reason residents don’t want a soccer stadium going up where Stargel Stadium currently sits. The first vice president of the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP, Joe Mallory agrees.

“In 10 years, this community will look totally different than it does today. The property taxes will increase. Rents will increase. People will be displaced. Jeff Berding, team president said no one will be displaced,” said Mallory.

The Cincinnati branch of the NAACP voted last month opposing the stadium being placed in the West End.

Contina Davis is the vice president of the Liberty Street Apartments Residents Council. She’s been at countless meetings about the stadium for months. From the beginning, she’s stood with her neighbors in opposition of the stadium being built in the West End.

“We voted no and the vote should count, the vote should stand. That’s with the school board, city council, and guess what, our neighbors did too,” said Davis.

The West End Community Council and the OTR Neighborhood council also voted against a stadium. The people’s voices are loud and clear but all signs point to a stadium coming to the West End.

"Are you surprised that John Cranley, Jeff Berding and oh I hate to say it PG Sittenfeld are not listening to you today,” said Cincinnati City Council member Wendell Young.

Now that CPS has made its deal, and the CMHA has made its deal, City Council is the last hurdle locally for FC Cincinnati to build a stadium in the West End. They’re expected to vote next week on the development deal.

As of right now, it appears at least four council members are prepared to vote yes. Five are needed for it to pass.

Even if that passes, FC Cincinnati still must earn a franchise from Major League Soccer.

MLS owners are expected to meet on April 17th.

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