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Dynamo Stadium?

Since I stopped paying attention to the Dynamo a few minutes after their team name was chosen, I hadn’t realized that they were seriously looking at moving to a to-be-built stadium somewhere out in the ‘burbs unless the city of Houston puts out for them.

Shouts of “goal!” could replace “fore!” at the venerable Gus Wortham golf course under a plan to provide a permanent home for the Dynamo soccer team and keep it in Houston.

City officials quietly have been looking into converting the old East End course into a soccer-oriented youth facility, which the Dynamo is requesting along with its own stadium as a condition for staying.

Several suburban cities also are kicking around proposals to land the championship soccer team. That’s putting pressure on Houston to make a move.

The proposed sports complex, however, would mean the end of existing operations at Gus Wortham Park, which is in a heavily Hispanic community and is one of only four golf courses inside the Loop.

So some community leaders and residents of surrounding neighborhoods want to nix the plan.


Andy Icken, planning and development director with the city’s Public Works and Engineering Department, said the city’s goal is to present a package to the Dynamo within a month in hopes of keeping the team from moving to the suburbs.

“We have been investigating a broad range of opportunities,” said Icken, who has briefed Mayor Bill White on the effort. “We haven’t really put pen to paper yet, as far as the economics and how we would pay for all this.”

Icken said plans for the 150-acre site could include a practice complex for the Dynamo as well as public soccer and baseball fields.

A new downtown stadium could be linked to the site by a planned expansion of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s rapid transit system into the East End.

“The Dynamo have told us from the beginning that part of their program is to involve youth in soccer-related, sports-related activity,” he said.


Icken said it’s too early to discuss how the city, perhaps in conjunction with the team, would finance a soccer stadium. Possible funding sources include city sales tax revenue, private donations and money from the team itself.

“Where we are is, can the city come up with a package of options that compete well with those other places?” Icken said. “I can’t answer that question yet.”

But he said the team’s talks with Houston’s suburban neighbors have added urgency to the planning.

“I don’t think we can procrastinate,” he said.

All things being equal, and bearing in mind my general lack of fan-ness in this regard, I’d rather have the Houston Dynamo than the Pearland Dynamo or some such. But only at a minimal cost. We’ve spent enough on stadia these past few years, thanks very much. If some suburb wants to make them an outrageous offer, I say wish ’em well and hold the door open as they move out. Any package has to include the Dynamo paying a nontrivial amount, and the city getting some tangible benefit out of its funding. Otherwise, it’s a nonstarter for me, whatever the real fans might want.

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