Crew owners scratch riverfront park off Austin target list

Precourt Sports Ventures, owner of MLS's Columbus Crew, has dropped Butler Shores Metropolitan Park from its list of sites it is looking at as possible sites for the soccer stadium it hopes to build in Austin.

"Based on this feedback, we are no longer exploring this location and are continuing our due diligence on other possible locations in the urban core," PSV president Dave Greeley said in a statement. "As we have stated from the onset of this process, finding the right site for a soccer park is of the utmost importance as we contemplate bringing Major League Soccer to Austin. We look forward to further community dialogue and collaboration, and we remain committed to finding the best possible stadium site for all involved.”

PSV has been trying to thread a needle, finding city-owned parkland within the Austin urban core. Following PSV's decision to cross Butler Shores off its list, Austin City Council member Ann Kitchen tweeted that she would withdraw a resolution to remove parkland from stadium discussions between PSV and the city that she wanted on the agenda for the Feb. 15 city council meeting.

Two other Austin sites remain on the list: Roy Guerrero Park (6 miles from the downtown Texas Capitol -- map) and McKalla Place (11 miles  from the downtown Texas Capitol map). The riverfront Butler Shores is less than two miles from downtown Austin, across the Colorado River.

That development came as there seemed to be a thawing of the ice between PSV and Columbus officials. Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer told Columbus Business First there have been talks between PSV and city leaders and investors.

Fischer told Columbus Dispatch quiet diplomacy was the best approach for those working on keeping the Crew in Columbus.

“I just don’t think you win or lose in the press. It would be easy to continue to vilify Anthony and the ownership and MLS. There’s zero upside to that,” he said. “We tried to do our part not to be a contributing factor to that. In tough situations, you always have the emotional times and usually progress is made when people aren’t hanging onto the emotions on their shirt sleeve.”
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