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Petitions emerge, let the games begin!

Monday, December 18, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

Though talk of soccer teams and stadiums has officially been put off until after the holidays, you can’t stop the will of the people. To illustrate that fact, if nothing else, at least two petitions have emerged on the topic of whether Butler Shores Metropolitan Park is the right place for a soccer stadium. The first (in no particular order) asks City Council to “Protect Butler Shores Parkland For the People!” The organizers are identified as “Friends of Butler Shores Parkland,” and the petition states, in part, “Butler Shores parkland along Lady Bird Lake is largely open green space today because of the protections in the Waterfront Overlay. The proposal to build a 20,000-seat stadium on Butler Shores parkland conflicts with the intent and purpose of the Waterfront Overlay. … Please remove Butler Shores parkland from the list of potential sites and ensure that Austinites are given the opportunity to vote on any proposal to utilize any parkland for a 20,000-seat stadium for a professional soccer team.” At the time of publication, it had close to 500 signatures. At the other end of the spectrum (though on the same website) is the petition “Welcome Major League Soccer to Austin’s Ladybird Lake.” That petition, from Austin resident Dan Brickley, reasons “Why a city stadium? The environmental impact is lessened by placing a ‘gathering place’ where the people already live. MLS prefers to locate teams in urban cores as apposed (sic) to suburbs so fans enjoy visiting their city for a game and meal, the entire experience. The days of driving long distances to huge parking lots with a stadium in the middle are, and should be, numbered. … This is our best hope for a tier one professional league of any kind, as Austin is not on the radar of any other major professional league expansion plans. Let’s not let this slip away.” That petition had around 100 signatures at the time of publication.

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