Black Businesses Can Profit; Youngsters Can Reap Scholarships and Jobs, Prop 2
There is an opportunity on the April 4 ballot in Proposition 2, which can bolster a significant economic transformation in various segments of the African-American and other minority communities. The opportunities include scholarships, youth jobs and training and a chance to appreciate soccer.
Furthermore, the erection of a new soccer stadium with multi-uses, throughout the calendar year, provides more than 400 great construction jobs and probably about similar numbers for many permanent jobs during the existence of a proactive and responsive public toward activities, including supporting a soccer team, as well as other opportunities.
There is a myth that the half-cent increase which would raise $4 million, annually for a new multipurpose facility for a new Major League Soccer team, and hosting potentially NCAA events, high school sports, outdoor concerts, and other civic events is on the backs of consumers. Not so!
The increase of that half-cent increase of the Use Tax will be paid by area businesses, not the consumers.
The City of St. Louis and the SC STL ownership group working to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to St. Louis recently unveiled what many considered an unprecedented agreement to invest millions of dollars in the children and community as part of its proposed stadium ordinance and financing agreement that would become a reality, if Proposition 2 passes on the April 4, ballot in the City’s general election.
SC STL and the City negotiated a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) over the past several months, marking the first time the City has required – and a developer has agreed to – a large-scale investment of this kind. It reinforces SC STL’s commitment to the City of St. Louis behind a minimum $255 million investment in the construction and maintenance of a multipurpose, 20,000-seat stadium located west of St. Louis Union Station in Downtown St. Louis that will serve as home to an MLS expansion team.
Beyond ownership of an MLS team, it appears that the group wishes to leverage and celebrate soccer’s rich history in the St. Louis region and use it as a catalyst to further shape the future of the City’s youth and improve communities in disadvantaged circumstances.
“SC STL is showing its commitment to our City by agreeing to invest $255 million of their own money, agreeing to a 30‑year lease with no loopholes, and gladly signing the Community Benefits Agreement that we required,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay. “I expect it will be a game changer and become the standard for future development agreements in our City. After our experience with the NFL, the excitement and confidence shown to our City by everyone associated with SC STL, their respect for our citizens, and their passion for the game of soccer are just what we need, and what we deserve of owners who want St. Louis customers."
The CBA promises to deliver several new soccer initiatives within the City, as well as job training aimed at City young adults and minorities. Partnerships formed under the agreement with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club, The Little Bit Foundation, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and New Dimensions Soccer Corporation will facilitate free soccer camps, clinics and training sessions, as well as the donation of new and used equipment. The ownership group has also pledged $5 million over the next 20 years dedicated to growing interest in youth soccer within the City.
The funding of pre-apprenticeship programs within the City and the commitment of grants to qualified program participants such as the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Mission: St. Louis and the MOKAN Construction Contractors Assistance Center.
The establishment of a partnership with The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment, or SLATE, to engage minority City residents for employment and training opportunities with SC STL and to ensure a good faith effort to meet all minority hiring and workforce requirements established by the City. The City's existing MBE/WBE monitoring process will be used to ensure compliance.
The endowment of up to 30 need-based scholarships for underprivileged youth from living in the City is also included in the city/soccer community benefits agreement.
The implementation of the Community Benefits Agreement is contingent upon City voters passing both Propositions 1 and 2 at the polls on Tuesday, April 4.
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