Councilwoman Torn on Major League Soccer Stadium

Stadium Rendering Courtesy Findlay Sports & Entertainment

Stadium Rendering Courtesy Findlay Sports & Entertainment

On September 3, the Las Vegas City Council delayed to October 1 its vote on a nonbinding deal with the Cordish Cos. and Findlay Sports & Entertainment for a proposed $200 million, 24,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium planned for Downtown. Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian explains why she sought the delay.

Why was delaying the vote necessary?
We had stated to the public that we would vet it in public before we made our vote, and I don’t think we did that. I had many calls against the stadium, and then 10 days before the vote I started to get calls for the stadium. If [public sentiment] had remained just against the stadium then I might have gone ahead and voted. … If we had not delayed the vote, I would have voted “no,” going on the information I had. But I just felt that we told [residents] we were going to be transparent, and then we weren’t.

Are there any specific elements of the proposal that you’re hoping to learn more about before October 1?
I have great concern about using public money. And I have not felt that we were treated as professionally as we should have been by Cordish, in that we gave them these extended times, and it seems no action comes until just before the deadline. Because of that, it puts a heavy, heavy load on our staff. But as far as, “Is a team viable and would it be successful here in Las Vegas?” Absolutely it would. I believe we could have a dynamic team here, and it would support itself. The MLS is very interested, from what I hear from people I know in the league. It’s all those other [financial] things I’m worried about.

Since you would’ve been the swing vote at the September 3 meeting, do you feel any additional pressure regarding this issue?
You feel pressure because it’s a big decision, especially if you’re the swing vote. But [on October 1], I won’t necessarily be the swing vote, because they may not even need it. … I’m a little torn inside, because I do think we could be very successful; however, I don’t want to use so much of the public’s money. I’ve already had a little old lady call me to say she wants a soccer team, and I’ve had some very powerful people call me who said they don’t want the soccer team. People who feel this is a battle of power against those who don’t have power, I think the power people have lined up both ways. But I don’t feel as much pressure now.

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