Proposed MLS stadium bill moves forward, while Scott trade Center renovation bill runs into a wall

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – The proposed Major League Soccer stadium passes another hurdle, bringing it one step closer for a public vote. Meanwhile, funding for improvements at the Scott Trade Center hit another wall but it’s not dead yet.

In two different votes aldermen pushed soccer forward in St. Louis that would need voter approval to decide if they want to pay ½ penny more for sales tax. The money would help fund the extension of Metro Link among other things.  If voters approve, the city would chip in $60 million for the proposed MLS stadium just west of Union Station. The stadium is estimated to cost $200 million.

Not everyone is for it. Aldermen who voted no said the money is needed for more serious issues, and they are hearing those demands from their constituents.  Alderman Tom Villa said, “I just see a soccer stadium taking precedent over what they city’s real problems are and I think we lost are way.”  Alderman Sam Moore added, “We’re not interested in soccer, Ballpark Village, baseball, football we’re interested in a quality of living and a quality of life.”

Alderman Christine Ingrassia introduced the stadium funding bills. Up until today she’s not been extremely hopeful they would pass. Those feelings seem to have changed.  She said, “I’m pretty surprised were in a place that’s pretty good overall to be honest I’m pretty incredulous that we’d be able to work out a deal that is revenue neutral.”

What specifically would be on the ballot? That’s no yet clear. The economics of the plan are still to be hammered out Wednesday night in the Ways and Means committee. Alderman Antonio French said, “So this thing is not being done in a way that makes much sense.”

As for the Scott Trade Center, members of the Ways and Means committee again said no to spending $100 million dollars for improvements for the home of the Blues. That issue is not dead yet, it could also come up Wednesday night.  If Scott Trade is not put on the agenda, officials say that issue would be dead.

The Ways and Means committee meets Wednesday night and then a final vote by alderman Friday.

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