Thursday, January 16, 2014

NYCFC Stadium Town Hall - First Reaction

"(T)here's always the danger that (a town hall meeting) degenerates into a shouting match or gives local cranks an opportunity to nurse old grudges."

Yep. Called it.

Last night, the community town hall meeting turned contentious, in part because of those old grudges. I don't know if I was picturing the self-described "communist" who delivered "an expletive laden rant on capitalism" and had to be removed when he tried rushed the stage when I spoke of "local cranks", but he would sure seem to qualify.

Image credit: Dave Martinez, Empire of Soccer

Not that there aren't good points questioning the stadium. One I found particularly interesting can be found in Empire of Soccer's coverage of the event:
As one Bronx resident put it, "If they want to build it, fine. Use your own money."
Can't say I really disagree with that. The team has sufficient capital that public funds, even tax incentives and city tax-exempt bonds, aren't needed to build the project. I'd be happier if more high-end properties were developed without public dollars, and this could be an excellent opportunity for the team to take a bold stand. They could generate a tremendous amount of local good will, not to mention national press.

Building a soccer-specific stadium without any public money (except possibly for any minor changes that would need to be made to the Major Deegan off-ramp and/or the Metro-North train station) would go a long way towards establishing soccer as the people's game in the Bronx.

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