Rethinking St.Louis Major League Soccer Effort

Three months has passed since Proposition 2 failed in St.Louis which would have allocated $60 million towards a new stadium and for potential Major League Soccer expansion. It’s true that this is another black eye for the region that is coming off of losing the Rams to Los Angeles. St.Louis had been the hotbed for a an expansion team from the MLS in which the area soccer stars like Taylor Twellman, Will Bruin, Steve Ralson, Darryl Doran, Chris Klein and Tim Ream. But looking back upon further review, the effort in getting a Major League Soccer team may have been rushed and should have waited because of a one of the most complex move that has never been solved throughout the region history, and that is county and metro area merger. St.Louis have been hit hard over the last 40 years with the decreasing population throughout the region including losses of manufacturing jobs and crime in the metropolitan area. It was also part of the reason why St.Louis lost their first NFL team the Cardinals in 1987 because city and county leaders couldn’t come to an agreement on the regional merger and a stadium proposal that was suppose to be built in Maryland Heights MO., with the support of St.Louis Metro leaders.

 

On the same day that Prop 2 failed, St.Louis elected its first female mayor in Lynda Krewson in which he supports a city/county merger. On June 12, County executive County Executive Steve Stenger put together a plan and pledged to continue the courtship aimed at combining government through a group that is pushing plan for a county/merger called A Better Together St.Louis.  The group’s goal is to come up with a plan to merge city and county into one large populated city that been divided since 1876 when the city broke away from the county and to increase the regional population. However there are elected county officials and country citizens that are not enthuse with the city/county merger. Many of the county’s leaders don’t want the burden in take up the city’s budget problem other factors that is preventing is the fear of crime spreading to various county’s. Whether it’s race or class these factors has caused a lot of distrust and greater polarization among the citizens for decades.

One reason the Prop 2 fail was the cost of the stadium fee in which SCSTL a propose MLS expansion team ownership, couldn’t cover the remaining $ 60 million dollars on the stadium and voters in the Metro area weren’t reluctant to pay for it and it’s questionable that had the vote included St.Louis County that they too would have voted yes on Prop 2.  the remaining MLS expansion cities such as Nashville, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, Tampa Bay and Raleigh N.C. they are relying on ownership who are paying for the cost of their own stadiums and stronger local leadership that sees the sport growing among one of the top sports league in the U.S. St. Louis is a soccer town which strong soccer youth programs and league throughout the region and it’s also home to pro soccer teams Saint Louis FC that currently plays in the United Soccer League 2nd Division and the St.Louis Ambush of the Major Arena Soccer League and they’re both well supported but the reality is that St.Louis was not ready for  Major League Soccer team because of disunity between City and County leaders and there was no desire to citizens to pay for the stadium. The dreams in getting Major League Soccer team is not dead yet but in order to keep the dream alive the city/county must merge and citizens who supports the merger must demand that it happen.

 

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