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Newport's Chances of Landing Soccer Stadium Appear to Improve

Slow and steady may win the race for Newport in the FC Cincinnati stadium stakes.

Mostly viewed as an after-thought in most public discourse surrounding the soccer club's quest to construct a new stadium as part of its goal of landing a bid to join Major League Soccer, Northern Kentucky civic leaders have ramped up the courtship in recent weeks.

And the timing appears to be good for those who want the possibly-major league squad to play its home games on the south side of the Ohio River. The Cincinnati options appear to be on shaky ground - or collapsed altogether - while another celebratory event was held in Newport.

One of the other two proposed sites on the Cincinnati side appears to have dropped out of contention.

FC Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Board of Education could not reach an agreement on tax payments that would be paid on a site in the city's West End.

The soccer club offered $750,000 annually but the school board wanted $2 million for the first ten years. FC Cincinnati later released a statement saying that it would not move ahead with the purchase of the property which was scheduled to close on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, another proposed site in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Oakley is still on the table.

That's where the team has a stadium plan already approved by Cincinnati city council along with an agreement from the Hamilton County commission. But, some reports have indicated that Major League Soccer wants a more urban-centered location.

That leaves Newport, where members of community group ReNewport and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce joined together for a pro-FC Cincinnati grill-out at Wooden Cask Brewery and then a photo shoot at the Ovation site near the riverfront.

Ovation is the proposed stadium location in Newport.

FC Cincinnati has indicated that it would make its decision by the end of May.

-Staff report