MLS expansion: Community benefits agreement moves Cincinnati closer to goal line

FC Cincinnati took another step toward closing the deal on a 21,000-seat soccer stadium needed for MLS approval as the league's 26th team when the Cincinnati city council approved by a vote of 7-0 an amendment to the community benefits agreement for the West End neighborhood.

Community benefits agreement: terms.

Such an agreement covers issues of concern to the local community in which a development takes place: parking and transportation issues, jobs, support for local programs. West End groups wanted improved terms before signing off on the agreement with FC Cincinnati.

Among the new terms of the agreement among FC Cincinnati, the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority and West End Community Council:

-- FC Cincinnati will pay up to $100,000 toward a study about housing issues in the West End and up to $50,000 on addressing community engagement;
-- Job fairs will be held in the West End, one for stadium construction jobs and the other after the stadium is completed; and
-- West End will get a chance for input on design elements of the soccer stadium and the new high school stadium the team will build to replace the Cincinnati Public Schools stadium on the site of the soccer stadium.

On April 16, the Cincinnati city council approved by a 5-4 vote a $34.8 million infrastructure package in connection with FC Cincinnati's plan to build the $200 million soccer stadium.
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