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Real Salt Lake willing to pay the price for minor league stadium

Published August 1, 2014 10:52 pm

Soccer • Tab estimated at $13 million to build a 5,000-8,000 seat facility at Fairpark.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In Real Salt Lake's bid to build a minor league soccer stadium at the Utah State Fairpark, the franchise has offered to pay the full price of the project.

The stadium, which would hold between 5,000 and 8,000 people, is expected to cost between $12 million and $13 million, said Trey Fitz-Gerald, RSL's vice president of communications. And it's a bill the franchise is willing to foot alone, forgoing the possibility of using some public funds.

While details have yet to be worked out, the deal would likely give RSL control over the stadium and its scheduling, allowing the franchise to operate a United Soccer League franchise there as a minor league training tool.

"We've got guys at the bottom of our roster right now that need games and they need to compete for minutes," Fitz-Gerald said last month, when the stadium proposal was first announced. "That's what we think a USL affiliation would accomplish."

The stadium would be just one component of a plan to revamp the century old Fairpark.

With the Fairpark's lease expiring in 2015, state officials have been tasked with deciding its future. A recent study suggested a number of possibilities, including selling the land and relocating the state fair, or overhauling the Fairpark's facilities at an estimated $47 million cost.

RSL's proposal to fund the stadium would cover a chunk of that, but the remaining funding would have to come from elsewhere.

State lawmakers toured the Fairpark on Thursday and were informed then of RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen's willingness to pay for the stadium, which could be used for the minor league franchise, an RSL women's team, lacrosse games and on occasion some local soccer leagues.

afalk@sltrib.com