Thursday, February 27, 2014

Columbus and the Crew to Build Finest Soccer Stadium in the United States Just West of Brewery District!

Signaling Columbus' intention of becoming The #1 destination city in Middle America for young, creative, energetic entrepreneurs, artists, musicians and families.

Building upon already finished projects in Columbus' urban core: Nationwide Arena (Home of the Columbus Blue Jacket's NHL team); Huntington Park (Home of the Columbus Clipper's baseball team); restaurants; pubs; theaters; museums; music venues and numerous new downtown lofts, condo's and other lively living spaces, Columbus City Council, The Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Business Leaders, The Columbus Crew and Crew owner Anthony Precourt have agreed to do everything possible to move the Columbus Crew to the Brewery District. This "anchoring" of the Southern end of Downtown Columbus will create a vibrant Urban Core stretching from the South edge of The Ohio State University through Victorian Village, Italian Village, The Short North, The Arena District, The Capital Square, and finally into German Village and the Brewery District.

Columbus' own miracle mile of sidewalk cafe's pulsing with the rhythm of the Midwest and America's cutting edge musical talent, art galleries beckoning the curious to look deep into the soul of who we have been, are and might be, and venues where crowds gather to share common experience through the raw beauty of sport will draw millions of visitors to the Buckeye state.

Have I gotten your attention? I hope so. I wrote the above few fantasy imbued lines after reading a story, written only hours ago, that was published online in The Austin Chronicle. A story written by Nick Barbaro.

Here is an excerpt taken from the story. This is a resolution being prepared by Austin's Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole.

"WHEREAS, the City of Austin is the fastest growing city in the United States (US) according to Forbes Magazine and the largest city in the US without a professional sports team; and

WHEREAS, the Major League Soccer (MLS) organization is the highest professional soccer league in the US; and

WHEREAS, Austin's demographics are extremely favorable to the sport of soccer as its median age is far below that of peer cities and its rich diversity supports soccer's global image (needs work); and,

WHEREAS, Central Texas is a hotbed of young soccer talent from the youth club level to the amateur ranks. Since the establishment of the Austin Aztex, eight players have been drafted by MLS teams including three of the first 11 picks of the 2013 MLS Superdraft one of which was the MLS Rookie of the year; and,

WHEREAS, the MLS is currently in an expansion phase and as noted by MLS Commission Don Garber during the recent State of the League Address the City of Austin is being viewed as a potential expansion opportunity for the MLS; and

WHEREAS, Commissioner Garber also noted that the MLS has been successful with stadiums located in the urban core of their league cities and hopes to locate new facilities in the same manner; and

WHEREAS, a centrally located facility could take full advantage of public transit and other alternative forms of transportation; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Austin is committed to creating a vibrant urban core in downtown Austin that will be the heart of the community; NOW, THEREFORE,

That the City Council directs the City Manager to work with necessary stakeholders including Major League Soccer, the Aztex, neighborhood groups, the University of Texas, and identify other probable stakeholders to (1) identify the economic feasibility of a Major League Soccer franchise in Austin, and (2) identify potential sites that take into account the traffic impact and impact on surrounding neighborhoods."

The above resolution speaks openly about the type of city Austin is and wants to be going forward. Columbus is and wants to be the same type of city. The citizens of Columbus are dynamic, creative individuals.

Resilience resides within our dynamism. The Midwest is experiencing tough times, much like the majority of our great country. Yet, for those prescient few, there is opportunity locked within every moment of difficulty. Opportunity is waiting for a city like Columbus to grab hold with both hands and run towards a renaissance of vision, ideas, debate, action, growth and diversity.   

A downtown soccer stadium would be a small piece in the mosaic of growth and diversity which is Columbus. I wrote about the idea of a Brewery District stadium a few days ago.

That earlier piece talks about some of Columbus' history. A vibrant slice of Columbus' history. Those "slices" are what must be nurtured and added to.

Columbus is a town of possibility and reality. Unlocking the reality within the possibility is what separates the sublime from the ordinary. Columbus is not ordinary.

The photo above is of Mbombela Soccer Stadium in South Africa. I chose it because the sublime notion of possibility in my rambling head is of a Crew stadium with stands on all four sides rising as close to vertically as possible, creating the most intimate soccer venue in the world.   

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