The Baltimore Sun reports that the Maryland Stadium Authority has authorized $100,000 for a study of the financial viability of building a stadium for the purpose of attracting DC United of Major League Soccer.
Apparently Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon convinced the Stadium Authority to conduct the study which will be paid for by the City of Baltimore. This is the city that has furloughed employees and enacted rolling closures of fire stations among other measures to cover a budget shortfall. It is also the same Mayor Dixon who was recently convicted, and subsequently resigned her office, for spending, or otherwise using for her own purposes, gift cards given to the city to make a happy Christmas for poor children. The donor of the cards was the Mayor’s then-boyfriend, a real estate developer. The Sun report mentions where the stadium would be built. It does not mention who owns the parcel.
Ms. Dixon was so excited by the sold out match held in Baltimore between Chelsea and AC Milan in July 2009 that she felt compelled to see if it makes sense to build a soccer stadium in Baltimore. Of course, it makes sense that one should infer from attendance at a single match between two of the top soccer clubs in the world that a city in budget turmoil ought to spend money on a facility to attract its own team. Interestingly, the Maryland Stadium Authority had already decided building a stadium for DC United just down the interstate in Prince George’s County, Maryland, was a money losing proposition.
An interesting additional piece of this situation is that the very successful in-door soccer club in Baltimore was nearly evicted from the First Mariner Arena so the city could build a new arena on the same site. I blogged on this before, here and here. During demolition and construction the club would have had no place to play.