ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The future of pro soccer in St. Louis rests on the outcome of today’s voting.
Propositions 1 and 2 on the city ballot have to do with the construction of a new downtown soccer stadium and efforts to land an expansion MLS franchise.
Props 1 and 2 would set up a sales tax and enact a use tax that would cover the city’s portion of building a stadium.
Prop 1, if passed, imposes a .5 percent sales tax increase to fund a MetroLink expansion, and a use tax increase to be paid by businesses that make out-of-state purchases. Prop 2, if passed, would direct that use tax increase toward the soccer stadium.
SC-STL vice chairman Jim Kavanaugh is working hard to convince those still on the fence, that both propositions are about more than just a professional soccer team.
LISTEN: SC-STL chairman Paul Edgerley and Kavanaugh on The Charlie Brennan Show Tuesday morning:
“If we’re going to be more progressive, we’re going to create jobs in downtown St. Louis. We need to create reasons why we’re bringing people downtown, for them to stay downtown and live downtown and attract millennials and new jobs,” Kavanaugh says.
15th Ward Alderwoman Megan Green opposes the measures, especially Prop 2, and she remains skeptical about the “build it and jobs will come” claim.
“Every single stadium says that every single time they try to do one of these things,” Green says. “It has never panned out. The research on publicly funded stadiums is pretty much unanimous – it never results in a good economic return.”
She feels the $60 million that would be raised by Prop 2 could be put to better use, such as public health, safety and affordable housing.
Green says the time to help fund a new stadium will come after her constituents stop worrying about if their neighborhoods are safe and their trash is being picked up on time.
Both Propositions 1 and 2 have to pass together for the stadium plan to move forward. If voters approve both Props 1 and 2, but the soccer deal doesn’t come to fruition, Alderman Jack Coatar says the money would be appropriated to something else.
Kavanaugh expects a fairly small turnout at the polls, which is why he says it is critical to convince as many of those who do vote as possible to secure a future for soccer in St. Louis.