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Franklin County Commission Takes Up Crew Stadium Measure

A new 20,000-seat stadium for the Columbus Crew SC is being proposed for the Arena District.
City Of Columbus

On Tuesday, the Franklin County Commission votes on the final piece of a public funding package for Confluence Village—the Arena District development that will serve as the Columbus Crew’s new home. 

Everything appears to be falling into place for the Major League Soccer team. A private group, led by the Browns owners and a Columbus doctor, has come forward to purchase the Crew. They’re even promising to mostly pay for the new, $230 million stadium.

Columbus and Franklin County have committed about $50 million each to further develop the area. But unlike the team’s boosters, Commission president Kevin Boyce isn’t sentimental about the plan.

“Let me be clear,” he says. “I like soccer, and I love the Crew, but this is really economic development for Franklin County.

Planners say Confluence Village will include almost 900 residential units, with 20 percent earmarked for affordable housing, and enough commercial space for about 1,300 jobs.

Columbus approved a similar measure last week. But unlike the city proposal, the county has not included an explicit prohibition on its money being used to build the stadium itself.

"So yes, it's a part of that region and area that we're developing,” Boyce says. “But I’m just trying to zero in on the idea for everyone to think about the soccer stadium and the soccer team as an economic engine for Franklin County and Central Ohio."

In addition to clearing the way for the brand new stadium development, the city and county measures greenlight anew public sports park at the site of MAPFRE stadium, where the Crew currently play.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.