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What Some Louisville Residents Think About A Taxpayer-Funded Soccer Stadium

Greg Fischer Louisville City FC
EmDash Photography

A recently released multi-month study examining the need for a stadium to house the city’s minor pro soccer team calls for a 10,000-seat stadium to be built by 2020.

According to the study, such a stadium could cost up to $50 million.

The analyst firm city government commissioned to conduct the study, Convention, Sports and Leisure International, says in its 80-page report that the future of professional soccer in Louisville depends on the construction of a stadium. That's the same sentiment team and Metro officials have shared during the past year.

To attract a Major League Soccer team, the study says, a stadium is critical. And for the Louisville City FC team to continue playing in the third-tier professional United Soccer League, a stadium would be needed by 2020.

The biggest hurdle to ensuring a stadium is built, perhaps, is securing the funding.

The analysts presented three hypothetical funding solutions, each of which include an aspect of taxpayer funding. Public contributions could come through tax incentives, grants, directly from the city's general fund or via a smattering of all three, the study says.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said private funding is key.

“We can only consider building a stadium if a significant portion of funding is committed by the private sector," he said in a press release Thursday.

Still, it seems inevitable that at least a portion of a soccer stadium, if city officials decide to build it, would come from taxpayers. So we asked residents what they thought of that idea.

Here's what they said:

"I'd rather give it to build a soccer stadium where fans are going to come out, give back to the economy, build the local economy, rather than just giving it away to people on welfare." --Brandon Stewart

"The argument for using taxes is that it will bring business downtown and increase the economy, but from what I've read I think a lot of that is baloney." --Nick Milby, 29

"I'm a huge soccer advocate. I watch a lot of soccer, I play soccer, I coach soccer, I think it's a great sport, but the finances also have to make sense." --Mike Rudisell

"I think it's a great thing." --Rhonda Dawson

"I'd be less opposed to it if there is a citywide vote." --Andrew Levine

"I will vote yes, soccer is very popular right now." --Yelena Ioffe

"I don't think [a stadium] is a top priority for the city. I think the money could be used for education before entertainment." --Lisa Titus

"It's community events, for families, so yes." --Phyllis Walton

"You have to get the whole city involved instead of just one area." --Don Trowell

"Not really. If there is any kind of sports team I wanted in Louisville it would not have been soccer, it would have been basketball." --Katie Shmitt

"Personally, I don't want it, but it makes sense." --James Pan

Jacob Ryan is an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.