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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
Austin City Council will on Thursday decide on an important next step in the process of possibly bringing Crew SC to the Texas capital.
But in a work session Tuesday, councilmember Jimmy Flannigan made it clear whatever happens will not be the end of the process.
"The other thing that I think is important, and as I'm sure many others will reiterate on Thursday, is that we are not making a final decision this week," Flannigan said.
The council did, however, take on the question of whether two resolutions on the agenda Thursday focused on McKalla Place -- a 24-acre, city-owned site in north Austin eyed by Crew operator Precourt Sports Ventures as a potential stadium site -- are complementary.
Under Item 130, sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, and councilmembers Delia Garza and Sabino "Pio" Renteria, the city would enter negotiations with PSV over the site. Under Item 60, sponsored by councilmembers Leslie Pool, Alison Alter, Ora Houston and Ellen Troxclair, the city would accept alternative plans, including mixed-use development.
Pool reiterated Tuesday that her resolution is not calling for a lengthy proposal process and indicated she will include language in the resolution placing any competing bids on the same Aug. 9 timeline as the negotiations with PSV.
"What I've tried to do here with 60 is create a different process that keeps us on the same timeline and lets us have all of our options on the table," Pool said. "We can continue this conversation with everything in front of us."
Others were skeptical about the possibility of mixed-use proposals coming together in such a short time.
"If at the end of the day there's six votes to go forward with the deal with professional soccer, I just think that (soliciting multiple proposals is) not a good path to go down," Garza said. "I do believe we have a really amazing opportunity to bring a professional sports team here to Austin."
Rebecca Giello, interim director of Austin's economic development department, said the city is evaluating the question of what happens procedurally if both resolutions pass.
"There is some concern around a timeline and potentially how that could be executed," Giello said. "We are working through our concerns, but we have noted several. I want to be very careful not to say that we don't agree currently that they are not complementary. We are not seeing it currently, however."
PSV also released an amended site plan to include up to 130 affordable housing units adjacent to a McKalla Place stadium.Councilmembers appeared to be in agreement about wanting to maximize community benefit, to dig deeper into PSV's financials and to minimize the potential financial burden on the city in exploring a stadium at McKalla Place.
Heading into Thursday, there is some disagreement, though, as to how alternative proposals might be considered alongside PSV's.
"I think that's all anybody's trying to do (in considering multiple proposals) is make sure we're not giving away the farm because in 10 years we could be Columbus and they could be going someplace else," Houston said.
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