Christmas present for Dynamo fans?

December 24, 2008 6:17:48 PM PST
Supporters say it's like getting an early Christmas present. County leaders say they'll support the new Dynamo stadium. Under certain conditions, it's a push fans have been waiting for, for months. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

All Dynamo fans want for Christmas is their own stadium someday. Although the city already supports the idea, fans have been waiting for county commissioners to jump on board. After months of no action, there's some good news just before Christmas.

Alfredo Lopez bleeds orange, but he, like so many of his fellow Dynamo supporters, is a fan, who until now, had no stadium to call home.

"The team has done their job," he said. "The supporters have done their job by attending games and it really gives you a boost to have a place to call home."

But after years of fighting, there may be a soccer fan's version of a Christmas miracle. The Harris County commissioners just announced they're willing to support the building of the stadium in east downtown if the team and the city of Houston are willing to meet certain conditions.

"It is a time of giving," said Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. "If we can give all the soccer sports fans a stadium for them and get a deal together, that's great."

Among other things, the county wants a portion of the tickets to always remain affordable, and allow Texas Southern University to use Dynamo's future home for certain games, conditions that at first blush seem workable for city leaders.

"The jobs and the economic development that it's going to bring, it's really important, so I'm glad we're finally moving forward and that we have a deal to start looking at," said Houston Councilman James Rodriguez.

If all sides reach an agreement, county leaders could vote on supporting a new stadium by mid-January. For East End's chamber of commerce President Diane Lipton, this breakthrough is truly the Christmas gift she didn't expect.

"Great Christmas," said Lipton. "I'm so excited and by next Christmas, there is going to be construction going on for the new stadium."

The stadium deal is far from done. Both the city and the Dynamo will have to agree to the terms set by the county to move forward. Supporters, though, are optimistic. They are aiming for a deal by mid-January and construction late next year.

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