KC soccer village plan tabled until 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City's idea of building a world-class soccer village on Sporting Kansas City's training facility in Swope Park got blocked on Wednesday.

Kansas City's TIF (tax increment financing) commission voted 6-5 to table the idea until January.

Sporting KC had agreed to finance the $18 million project. It would help build six additional soccer fields, a spectator area, concession stands, lighting, restrooms, classroom space, road upgrades and more.

Kansas City officials proposed to the TIF commission Wednesday to expand the boundaries of the nearby Winchester Tax Increment Financing plan to include the team's current facility. If approved, it would overlap into the Raytown School District.

The city said the deal would generate $4.3 million during the next 12 years for the Raytown School District. If the construction project involved no tax breaks for Sporting KC, Raytown schools could pocket double -- about $8 million in tax dollars.

Superintendent Dr. Allen Markley said not receiving all the money would be a disservice to his students.

"Those dollars equate to success for us," he said.

Soccer club representatives in Kansas City said thousands of recreational soccer players and many others across the Missouri side of the metro have outgrown the old, bumpy fields currently in Swope Park.

"To get (kids) to be active is in conjunction with a good education," Peter Sloan, chair of the Brookside Soccer League, explained.

The city argued the new fields would attract big tournaments and could lure business to the area.

The city said the soccer village project will not go forward without the tax abatements. It said Raytown would be left where it is now: $0 in tax dollars off of the park.

The TIF commission will reconsider the issue in January.

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