Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Kansas City soccer stadium in trouble?

When the new owners took over the Kansas City Wizards in August, they made it clear that they wanted a soccer stadium opened by 2009. Too make this happen, they are counting on Johnson County voters to pass a park bond this November that will allow for the creation of a $75 million youth soccer park. The Wizards will then build their stadium next to the park.

However, Mike Hendricks of the KC Star says the campaign might not be going so well. One of the main reasons is the poor tactics used by those in favor of the park. It seems that those opposed are trying to muddy the water to make it appear that the bond is going to pay for the Wizard's stadium, when it will not, but what do you expect when you take five weeks off from pushing your point of view.

To prove there’s broad and deep backing for a $75 million youth soccer park in Johnson County, the “Yes on Question No. 1” campaign on Monday afternoon trotted out the members of their newly formed Community Leadership Council.

The kind of civic cheerleading squad a big bond campaign like this needs, right?

Democrats and Republicans. A couple of soccer moms, several mayors (one of whom is also a soccer mom), current and former officials from cities up north and cities out south.

There was a state senator, a former state senator, an establishment banker and a former superintendent of schools.

So what’s not to like, if you are for the soccer park?

Nothing. Except they should have made those introductions weeks ago.

Since 2002, they’ve been studying this thing. And for months, there’s been talk of a possible soccer ballot issue this November.

Yet Monday’s media event came five weeks after the decision back in August by the county park and recreation board to put the measure on the November ballot.

And during that five-week period what happened? Proponents held a single pep rally in a park last month with a rented PA system that was so underpowered no one in the back could hear a thing. Meanwhile, the opposition was getting its message out in the press and through the Internet.

If this measure goes down, the Wizards will have to go to plan B. On the day of the sale, new owner Neal Patterson hinted at a backup plan, but if that plan requires any public money, it will probably take 6 months to a year to get it approved.

The rollercoaster that is the MLS team from Kansas City continues.

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