Could this be the future site of an MLS soccer stadium in Elk Grove?
ELK GROVE, CA - The city of Elk Grove is one step closer to getting a new professional soccer stadium and possibly the Major League Soccer team to go with it.
Elk Grove City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to move forward with acquiring the land to build a new stadium.
The proposal includes looking at building a new sports complex on a 120 acre parcel of land by the partially built Elk Grove Promenade mall. The plan is to build a stadium that would seat as many as 18,000 people and attract 550,000 visitors a year. The price tag for that would be about $100 million and would be financed in a combination of bonds and possibly ticket sales, parking, naming rights, lease payments to the ownership group.
Some said the support is there for soccer and a new soccer complex.
"I can't imagine how it wouldn't be sold out for every game. I think soccer in this NorCal area is phenomenal," soccer coach Stephen Cosenza said. "I think we'll pack the place."
Advocates said the new stadium and MLS team could generate $15 million a year for the area.
But opponents cited concerns about the current economic conditions and whether non-soccer events could fill the stadium or generate enough revenue.
"I'm very concerned about our city budget and how we operate as a city," resident Elena Kirby said.
"I guarantee, if you are 25 percent off, we're going bankrupt and that's nuts," resident Tom Waltman said.
Others wondered if the proposed stadium would jeopardize efforts to bring a new sports and entertainment complex to Downtown Sacramento.
But soccer aficionados like Cosenza are confident that a new sports complex will work.
"The city will take a good look at the financing side of things," Cosenza said. "Hopefully, it'll come out well because I think a stadium will do well."
"For Elk Grove, this is a really really good opportunity to put the city on the map, not just at a national level, but on an international level," said Fabien Nunez, former Assembly Speaker and member of the ownership group Northern California Soccer.
"Our biggest hurdle to get over really is just negotiating what it takes to build the stadium," said Mayor Gary Davis. "The good news is the soccer stadium is roughly a quarter to a third the cost of an NBA arena, but the economic benefit is the same, so we're confident that we can get to a point where we can negotiate a public-private partnership to get a stadium built."
If the stadium plan is approved, the groundbreaking could happen this year. The new stadium would be ready by 2015.