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John Daley ReportingCall it Real Sandy. It looks like Utah's first-year soccer team will soon be heading south to a permanent home there, where it plans to build a new 20-thousand seat stadium. But plenty of questions remain.
Two big ones are money and traffic. The plan, which includes public financing, still needs to be worked out. And they'll need to work out a way to accommodate the additional traffic near 9400 between State Street and I-15.
The news today is that Real Salt Lake appears headed to a new 20-thousand seat grass field in Sandy, but the decisive moment was probably months ago when state lawmakers forbid redevelopment money from being used on stadiums and in the process, delivered a whack to their prime antagonist, Salt Lake's lightning rod mayor, and to downtown Salt Lake where a 10-acre site can cost a steep 15 to 20 million dollars.
Carlton Christensen, Salt Lake City Council Member: "When the legislature took away the opportunity for us to use RDA funds last session for a soccer stadium, it clearly set us back considerably. It's not fair to blame it all on the mayor. There were a lot of things that figured into it."
The site the team has chosen is on a property set back from businesses at the northwest corner of 9400 South and State Street. Early estimates put the cost at $60 million dollars, and a public financing plan has yet to be announced.
Another question is how to accommodate more cars in what is already a busy corridor of the valley. Yesterday the team's CEO was tight-lipped about details, saying the decision was based on a complex mix of factors.
Dean Howes, Real Salt Lake CEO: "It's been a challenging choice, not because of anybody, but because there's a lot of moving parts. It's been very difficult."
Fan reaction undoubtedly will be mixed. Soccer shop owner Jim Sciumbato lives in Sandy, but prefers Salt Lake, especially with its proximity to downtown hotels.
Jim Sciumbato, Real Salt Lake Soccer Fan: "I'm disappointed it's not going downtown. I think a stadium of this size and this sport, it belongs in a locale where people can say 'let's go to this game tonight.'"
The team is expected to make its big announcement in Sandy tomorrow afternoon. We're not expecting to hear many specifics on the financing, and that's where this whole thing could get tricky.