SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed soccer stadium at the Utah State Fairpark is a step closer to becoming a reality.
The park’s chairman, Roger Beattie, announced Monday he’ll seek unanimous approval from the board of directors to move forward with negotiations on the project.
“The new stadium will become a key element in the fair park’s success for years to come,” Beattie said in a press release Monday. “We envision it will be the first of several major new developments at the fair park.”
Dell Loy Hansen, Real Salt Lake’s owner, formally offered to cover the estimated $13 to $18 million necessary to build an 8,000-seat soccer stadium on the fairground's 36-building campus. The stadium would host Real’s minor league affiliate team.
Initially, Hansen proposed a public-private partnership to fund the construction of the stadium, but ultimately offered to provide the money himself in an effort to expedite the process.
The final hurdle will be getting the state to extend the lease on the fairground property, according to Lowell Peterson, vice chairman of the board.
“The stadium would be a huge step forward in revitalizing the entire fair park," he said. “We urge the state to extend the Fairpark Corporation’s lease on the fair park so we can preserve (it) for generations to come.”
A multiphase study by architectural firm CRSA noted that a sports complex, part of several improvements estimated to cost $47 million, are necessary for the park to be financially viable.
The stadium, combined with a completed rodeo grounds and convention center, would help turn the park into a 365-day-a-year venue rather than the sporadic offering of events that occur now.
Hansen is set to meet with the board to discuss RSL’s vision for the stadium on Sept. 10. The goal is to have the stadium completed for the start of the 2016 season, he explained.
Contributing: Amy Joi O'Donoghue