West End community wants to be included in FC Cincinnati stadium process
WEST END, Ohio (WKRC) – Many believe FC Cincinnati has been great for the city, but its meteoric rise has not been without some level of controversy.
This potential stadium and where it could be built is at the root of it. The roar of the crowd at FC Cincinnati’s games should not replace the roar of the crowds that watch students play at Stargel Stadium. That's the feeling of many people that live in the West End.
The stadium that's part of Taft high school was named for Willard Stargel, a teacher and assistant coach. He was known for his commitment to kids in the neighborhood.
Cincinnati City Councilman Wendell Young was one of many leaders Thursday who spoke out against FCC moving into the West End. “Kids under his tutelage, many of them went on to play professional sports and if they didn't, because of his guidance he was able to give them, many of them who would've slipped by the wayside completed school, went to college,” said Young.
Neighbors are also concerned about what it would mean for the neighborhood's rich, diverse history. Taft and Hays-Porter School could be affected.
Julie Sellers with the Cincinnati of Federation of Teachers joined Young and others. “I cannot believe the arrogance of FC Cincinnati to think that they can displace and disrupt the facilities for CPS students from six different high schools who use Stargel,” Sellers said.
FCC team president Jeff Berding says there's a "possibility" the team might want to use that land to build an MLS stadium. He claims it will not have a negative impact on the neighborhood, but many are worried that the people who've lived here for years could be pushed aside in the name of progress.
Ohio state Senator Cecil Thomas said, “When you choose to disrupt the normal geographic of a neighborhood by bringing in something that's significant as a major league soccer stadium, you're upsetting the total dynamics of that neighborhood.”
Berding is expected to be at the next West End Community Council meeting. It's scheduled for the 20th at the Carl Lindner YMCA.
Berding says other potential sites in Oakley and in Newport are also still options, though Campbell County's judge-executive has told Local 12 News, he knows of no ongoing negotiations between FCC and Campbell County or Newport.