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Environmental Commission weighs in on soccer stadium proposal

Monday, February 26, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

Although Butler Shores Metropolitan Park was abandoned as a site for a proposed professional Major League Soccer stadium, other sites have continued as possibilities, including Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park. Based on Precourt Sports Ventures’ original plan for a 20,000-seat stadium, Malcolm Yates, the chair of the East Riverside/Oltorf Combined neighborhood planning contact team explained at the Feb. 21 meeting of the Environmental Commission that the group would require 34.75 acres to comfortably situate a stadium and the accompanying parking lot. According to him, “no matter where you put this 35-acre footprint, the channel of the Country Club Creek would need to be shifted” to accommodate the stadium. Doing so, as the city of Austin has already experienced, “would change the hydrology of the entire Guerrero Park” and could lead to additional erosion problems, he said. Yates suggested that the commission request an environmental impact study before the location for this soccer stadium is determined. Gordon Maxim-Kelley, the president of the Waterloo Disc Golf Club, which often plays in Guerrero Park, seconded Yates’ dissent for building the stadium on city parkland saying, “We are very much against the soccer stadium coming.” He explained that putting the stadium in that location would require the city to remove three disc golf holes and ruin the course. The location in question is on the west side of the park, which gives parkgoers a sweeping view of the city skyline and is “the same view that Major League Soccer would like for themselves,” said Maxim-Kelley. He acknowledged, “I think most disc golfers would love to see soccer come to Austin. I would too.” However, he is wary of soccer detracting from other amenities already in the park.

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