Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2006

Soccer bid seems dead

August 24, 2006

De Soto's hopes of being the future home of the Kansas City Wizards apparently ended this week with the announcement that Overland Park was now the top contender for that prize.

Last spring, De Soto, Olathe and Gardner were the three finalists chosen by Hunt Sports Group and Major League Soccer for a stadium that would hold about 20,000 and 24 youth soccer fields. That selection came after the two groups invited Johnson County cities to send in proposals for the complex.

At a meeting of the De Soto Economic Development Council Tuesday, De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson said he thought the MLS appeared to be looking elsewhere.

The stadium complex selection process was conducted in the shadow of Hunt Sports Group's announced intention to sell the soccer franchise.

Overland Park officials announced Tuesday they were working with a potential ownership group about bringing the Wizards and the soccer complex to that city.

De Soto's proposal was put together by city staff, De Soto Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council executive director Sara Ritter and members of the local business community.

While disappointed the city did not land the soccer complex, Ritter said she was proud of what the group did achieve.

"It was a good process for us to be a part of," she said. "We learned a lot, and we'll be ready for the next opportunity that comes our way.

"We were up against some pretty large cities. I think it was a testament to our group's ability to work together that we had a proposal that was considered that long."

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