City Council hears from stadium proponents

February 2, 2010 5:03:46 PM PST
There's a battle brewing over where to build the Houston Dynamo soccer stadium. People sounded off to the mayor and Houston City Council members about why they want the stadium in their neighborhood. People who live east of downtown say they want the Dynamo stadium. This comes just one day after residents of the community of Bellaire met to protest a possible plan to put the stadium in their area.

Almost everyone at Tuesday's council meeting agreed that they want the stadium just east of downtown as opposed to Plan B near the Galleria. What this is turning into is a battle between the city and the county.

One by one, they came with the same one request. Residents and community leaders are concerned that if the downtown deal fails, what will go on site in question.

"We're very concerned about the possibility of a jail placed in this location. Where a new stadium would bring growth and spur economic development, a jail would impede it," said Diane Lipton of the East End Chamber of Commerce.

Residents are urging the city to stick to its commitment of building the Dynamo stadium east of downtown in a four block lot.

The city has already purchased the land, and has committed millions, but Council Member Sue Lovell reminded the audience that county commissioners court has yet to put the issue on the table.

"I'm urging all of you to go to the county commissioners and tell them that you want it over there because if they would have moved quicker, we wouldn't be having this conversation," said Lovell.

However, the county says it's not them dragging their feet. They say a number of terms of the deal still have to be worked out. They include who will get ultimate ownership of the facility once the lease expires, who will take over upkeep, what kinds of capital improvements will need to get done and what will be the price of tickets. Couple that with a change of administration at the city and now the new Plan B near the Galleria.

The mayor Tuesday said she is working on meeting with county commissioners to get things moving.

"We are already in it to the tune of $15.5 million. The city has made its commitment and we stand by the commitment," said Mayor Parker.

If the stadium is built east of downtown would be in Commissioner Alfranco Lee's district. We called him for comment, but he referred us back to the county.

Residents said they will also be in county commissioners court to help motivate a decision.

On Monday night, dozens of Bellaire residents met with city officials there to talk about the stadium plans. The residents expressed concerns about traffic, noise and reduced property values if the stadium is built. The mayor of Bellaire is also against the project.

The developer is looking to build the stadium and a multi-use facility on a 30-acre site at South Rice and Westpark.