Council moves Murray closer to soccer goal
MURRAY - City leaders have moved forward to rejuvenate 100 acres in Murray.
Perhaps more importantly, the City Council kept Murray in the sweepstakes to become home for the 22,000-seat soccer stadium for Real Salt Lake.
On Tuesday night, council members unanimously agreed that the tract of land surrounding the light rail station at 4400 South is blighted.
The decision keeps the city in line to set up a redevelopment agency (RDA) that could generate millions of dollars to pay for improvements and infrastructure in the area.
The funds could also be used to buy 10 acres of land for Real. It is a proposal that both Murray and Salt Lake City, the only cities vying for the stadium, have made to the team.
The five-member council heard more than an hour of public comment both opposed and in favor of the stadium.
"They are subsidies for private organizations that should be operating on their own," said resident Lee Brinton.
Also, in opposition were residents who said the city is going to use the RDA to kick them out to make room for a stadium.
"I worry what you, Murray city, is going to do to my property," said Delynn Barney.
Others contended that a stadium could be the anchor to draw new housing and other development in the area.
The city's plan for the area would encourage a transit-oriented development that would bring a mix of housing, retail, restaurants and business offices.
The team, which will play at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium until a new facility is complete, also envisions practice fields and other attractions.
While the council agreed that the area was blighted, it still must create a plan and budget before an RDA can be finalized.
Salt Lake City already has an RDA for its proposed site at 600 South and Main Street.
The team used Murray's meeting as way to gauge public sentiment for the facility in Murray.
The team has said it will announce a decision in early February. In addition to the land, Real plans to ask Salt Lake County residents to bond for half of the $60 million stadium.
Officials from Real Salt Lake will hold a public meeting at the Salt Lake City-County Building on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. to gauge public support for a stadium near downtown at 600 South and Main Street.