Greitens vows no state money for soccer stadium

Greitens said he has completely ruled out the idea of public funding for an MLS stadium.

ST. LOUIS - Missouri Governor-Elect Eric Greitens is doubling down on his stance that no public money should be used to build a soccer stadium in St. Louis.

In fact, the governor-elect used strong, specific language, saying he's not just opposed to using tax dollars, he has ruled out the use of state funding.

Call it a sports mash-up, fans Monday entering a baseball stadium to watch the Winter Classic hockey game and some with soccer on their minds.

“We were just talking about that on the way over,” said Fan Angela Suria from Maryville, Illinois.

There's lots to consider, a $200-million soccer stadium in Downtown St. Louis, home to an expansion Major League Soccer team.

The group trying to bring pro soccer to St. Louis, SC STL, supports a vote that could come this spring, asking St. Louis City voters to approve $80 million for the stadium.

But last month, the group temporarily withdrew a request for another $40 million in state tax credits because the governor-elect criticized it.

Greitens made clear Monday during an appearance in St. Louis, his feelings have not changed.

“I've completely ruled out state funding for stadiums,” said Greitens. “We are not going to use money from the people of the State of Missouri in what I believe is corporate welfare.”

Some sports fans disagree with the governor-elect.

Natalie Menne from Kirkwood said, “I think it would be fun for the city to have a team since we just lost the Rams.”

Conor Heffernan from Mehlville said, “I think it's a good thing. I think we need a soccer team here, great city.”

Others are against it while still others are undecided.

“I'm a city resident, so on that side I want it, but we can't just give money away to give it away,” said Zach Poelker.

In an e-mailed statement, SC STL spokesman Jim Woodcock wrote,

"Today is about only one thing in St. Louis, and that's our Blues and celebrating their efforts with the Cardinals to bring the Winter Classic this afternoon to Busch Stadium."

The group is supposed to meet with Greitens to discuss the proposal some time this month.

Photos: Stadiums and Cities of the MLS


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