John Daley ReportingOn the eve of Utah's biggest ever soccer event--a qualifying game for the prestigious World Cup--Salt Lake's mayor is trying to rally support for a stadium on the city's west side.
The city is pushing for a stadium at the state fair park. A number of political leaders seem intrigued by the idea of putting the Real Salt Lake Soccer Stadium there, and Salt Lake's mayor is working to convince them this is the best site.
The US national team is here for a game Saturday in its quest for a World Cup berth. Meantime, three Utah towns--Salt Lake, Murray and Sandy--are on a quest to host Real Salt Lake's 22-thousand seat, 60-million dollar soccer stadium.
Today the mayor of Salt Lake held a meeting for a variety of city, county and state leaders, making the pitch to put the stadium at the fair park.
Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor: "First of all we wanted to get the information out there and make sure there's an open dialogue. We just want to get the information out there and we thought that this was a good way to do that."
Rep. Steve Mascaro, (R) West Jordan: "It just hasn't been a real strong money maker and this might create some new opportunities over there. So I think it's really worth giving some consideration to."
Peter Corroon, (D) Salt Lake County Mayor: "I think we're here to get everybody in one room and see what's the best for Salt Lake County, for the state and for soccer."
The estimated cost is roughly 60 million dollars, requiring perhaps half in public financing through some local tax authority. One big asset for the fair park is the land acquisition cost would be zero. The ultimate location will undoubtedly be the best site at the best price.
Lane Beattie, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce: "Dialing for dollars is what big retailers and what big sports complexes want. They just shop around the country for the best deal they can get."
But whether it goes to the fair park or elsewhere, state financial support from the GOP-led legislature could play a key role.
Rep. Steve Mascaro, (R) West Jordan: "I'd like to think that my fellow legislators will look to make decisions that are best for the community, and not let this be a political football where they are protecting geographic locations."
There was not a representative of Real Salt Lake at today's meeting. The team has not taken a public position about which site they like, and continue to evaluate all their options