My congratulations to the Houston Dynamo for their second consecutive MLS championship. Now how about that stadium that's been in the works for however long?
The Houston Dynamo, fresh off the team's second straight championship, could have a private-public deal to build a stadium in place within weeks, city and team officials said Monday.
"I'm hopeful we can put a good deal together," said Andy Icken, the city's deputy director of public works, who is heading negotiations for the city. "If we're going to be successful, we'll be successful in the next two weeks."
Some members of the team, which won its second straight Major League Soccer championship Sunday by defeating the New England Revolution, said they are wondering why it is taking so long to secure a stadium deal.
"Mayor White, listen up: This team deserves it (a stadium)," Dynamo defender Craig Waibel said.
County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia said the Dynamo's second championship should energize officials and fans to get a stadium built.
"But nobody wants to see taxpayer dollars go toward this," she said.
The county is not expected to play a role in a stadium project.
Nearly two years ago, AEG moved its franchise to Houston after failing to put together a stadium deal to its liking in San Jose, Calif. The mammoth entertainment company renamed the team the Dynamo, and executives promised to get a stadium built in its new home.
Oliver Luck, Dynamo president and general manager, said the team has presented a good proposal to the city and is waiting for a response. "We're close to a deal. It's really up to the mayor," Luck said.
White is seeking a deal that would not require the city to contribute public money. While AEG's proposal calls for the company to bear most of the construction costs, it still would require the city to provide millions of dollars in needed infrastructure improvements, city and team officials said.
"The mayor has said he would not like to use any money that could be used for firefighters or policemen," Icken said.
"We're prepared to put in the preponderance of the money for the stadium," Luck said. "I'm reluctant to say whether it would be $60 million, $62 million or $72 million," he said. "But we are asking the city for some financial help, no two ways about it."
Infrastructure improvements could include building streets to a stadium site and paying for expanded water lines and other utilities, Icken said.