ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The future of Major League Soccer in St. Louis is in doubt following the failure of Proposition 2 Tuesday. It would have provided $60 million in public funding for a stadium just west of Union Station.
Voters passed Proposition 1 for MetroLink expansion with 60.4 percent of the vote, but voted against Proposition 2, with 52.8 percent voting “no.”
Both propositions needed to pass to give the soccer stadium the green light.
Prop 1 imposes a half-cent 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 would have directed that use tax increase toward a new soccer stadium.
MLS says this is clearly a significant setback for the city’s expansion opportunity:
“For many years we have believed St. Louis would be a tremendous market for a Major League Soccer team, but the lack of a positive stadium vote is clearly a significant setback for the city’s expansion opportunity and a loss for the community.
We deeply appreciate the efforts of Paul Edgerly, Jim Kavanaugh and their partners to bring Major League Soccer to St. Louis. They were focused on creating a plan that benefited the community at no cost to St. Louis city residents while bringing the fastest growing professional league in North America to the region.”
It’s unclear if there is any future for an MLS team in St. Louis. The ownership group, SC STL, says there is no Plan B in the foreseeable future.
SC STL partner Dave Peacock tells KMOX he hopes the loss of a Major League Soccer team and major investment downtown is a wake-up call.
Peacock says someone needs to step up to form a vision for the entire region, and city and county residents need to agree on priorities:
Vice Chairman Jim Kavanaugh says more people turned out to vote than they expected.
“We were really more focused on contacting the people that would be positive for what we were doing and not necessarily looking at the overall numbers, and I think it was a nice day,” he says.
Kavanaugh acknowledged more time might have made a difference.
“I think we would have converted them and we would have been moving forward, but that’s not the case, so we know what we have to deal with now and there’s going to be no MLS in St. Louis,” he says.
SC STL Chairman Paul Edgerly praised the support from the city.
“I think they saw the same vision we saw, which is, this is more than about soccer. It’s really about connecting people together, and doing something in our city which could really create a revitalization,” he says.