Jeff Berding Statement on City Council Session
I would like to thank Mayor John Cranley, City Council Members and the City Administration for the opportunity to engage the city and build greater community engagement on our efforts to win a Major League Soccer franchise. I would also like to thank the FCC fans who spoke in support of our vision today and those who relayed their support to Council Members through email, phone calls and on social media. Our supporters have built this club and truly are the organic foundation of everything we do.
We are thrilled City Council voted to support our vision and approve the funding for public infrastructure in Oakley that would capitalize on the $350 million of private investment from our ownership group. We are also appreciative that a majority of Council Members showed a strong understanding that the stadium will be 100% privately financed, that the taxpayers will not be responsible for even a penny of debt, that FCC will be responsible for any cost overruns during construction, as well as operations and maintenance of the stadium, and no one’s taxes will be raised.
City Council’s vote and hopefully Hamilton County’s support on Wednesday to approve the funding for streets and parking, brings Cincinnati one step closer to checking the final box for our application to win a franchise bid and bring major-league soccer to our city. As was discussed in depth today, today’s vote does not mean that we will break ground tomorrow. What the affirmative vote does mean, however, is that we can continue to work with the City, the County, the Oakley Community Council, the citizens of Oakley and residents across the City, to finalize a plan that works in the best interests of the neighborhood, the City overall and FCC.
We are confident in our vision of Major League Soccer and what having a franchise in the first division will do for our region. Our city has a very unique opportunity to position itself in the global economy and use the passion behind soccer to build upon the renaissance Cincinnati is experiencing.
We look forward to continued discussions with policymakers and the public as we solidify plans so we can use FC Cincinnati and our private investment to realize an exciting vision for Greater Cincinnati.