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State balks on aid to help kick off St. Louis soccer stadium construction

Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Soccer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri officials are balking at approving $30 million in state aid to help finance the construction of a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis.

Without explanation, officials canceled a meeting of the Missouri Development Finance Board set for Tuesday where the first $15 million installment of state tax credits was expected to be voted on.

That appears to put the timeline for construction sought by stadium backers in limbo as city officials scramble to resolve the impasse.

"We're trying to sort things out," said Otis Williams, who heads redevelopment efforts for the city. "We're looking at other options."

Williams would not elaborate on why Tuesday's meeting was canceled or why new options are being considered. The director of the development finance board was not available Monday.

The move came as a surprise to the MLS4THELOU Ownership Group.

 

"The Missouri Development Finance Board did not consult with us in making the decision to cancel the meeting, so we're not sure why it was canceled," the group said in a statement to the Post-Dispatch.

The city had asked the board for $15 million in tax credits to help prepare the sprawling downtown site for a 22,500-seat stadium north of Market Street in place of highway ramps, parking lots and private businesses along Olive Street.

Practice fields and other team facilities would be wedged south of Market between 21st and 22nd streets, replacing empty land and highway on- and off-ramps.

St. Louis' MLS ownership group, led by the Taylor family of Clayton-based rental car giant Enterprise Holdings, wants to get the stadium built in time for the first game in March 2022.

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