Prospective MLS Ownership Group’s “Community Benefits Agreement” Announcement

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Full statement released by the SC STL ownership group:

CITY OF ST. LOUIS, MLS OWNERSHIP GROUP ANNOUNCE

COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT AS PART OF PLAN TO BRING MLS TO ST. LOUIS

Agreement will deliver monetary, education, workforce and recreation provisions to youth and minorities

ST. LOUIS, Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – The City of St. Louis and the SC STL ownership group working to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to St. Louis today jointly announced an unprecedented agreement to invest millions of dollars in our children and community as part of the proposed stadium ordinance and financing agreement that will be decided by voters in the April 4 City election.

SC STL and the City negotiated the 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, the group wishes to leverage and celebrate soccer’s rich history in the St. Louis region and use it as a catalyst to 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 a number of 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.

One-hundred free tickets will be provided to City youth organizations for every regular season home game played by the anticipated MLS expansion team, and St. Louis Public Schools and the City will both be granted access to the stadium a number of times annually for amateur sporting events, gatherings or additional community activities.

The ownership group is additionally placing an emphasis on the hiring of minority City residents in the construction and maintenance of the stadium. As part of the CBA, partnerships with the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), Mission: St. Louis and others will help place residents in permanent and temporary jobs and ensure that minority workforce requirements established by the City are met.  For a more detailed overview of the community benefit agreements, see end of news release.

“It was clear to me from the start that the SC STL group is serious about its engagement with our city, with a genuine interest in serving the African American community and providing opportunities that will make the most of its potential,” said Mike McMillan, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.  “The Community Benefits Agreement in place is a model of how major projects like the effort to bring Major League Soccer to our city should work.  This is a comprehensive and groundbreaking contract between the ownership group and our city, and one the Urban League enthusiastically supports.”

The agreement will be announced today at 2 p.m. as part of a press conference at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis that will include Mayor Slay, city leaders in government and sports, as well as representatives from SC STL, youth and civic organizations, the St. Louis Sports Commission and more.  The CBA will last for 30 years in conjunction with the proposed stadium lease agreement.

“Our goal from the moment we formed SC STL was twofold – bring a Major League Soccer expansion club to St. Louis and have it serve as the inspiration for doing significant amounts of good throughout our community, with a particular focus on youth and the underserved,” said Jim Kavanaugh, SC STL Vice Chair and CEO of World Wide Technology. “Our agreement with the City holds us accountable, and we promise to meet every term and then some for generations to come.  But beyond accountability, we see this contract with our community as a unique opportunity to both lead and serve, in both new and traditional ways.”

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.

COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENT PROVISIONS

  • The establishment of the SC STL Soccer Club program within the city.

o   SC STL Soccer Club will hold soccer camps every summer for an expected 30-40 students.

o   At least one camp each year will be held at a facility located north of Delmar Boulevard and a facility located south of Choteau Boulevard.

o   Camps will be run in conjunction with New Dimensions Soccer Corporation, Matthews Dickey Boys & Girls Club and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis.

o   SC STL will provide free access for up to 16 underprivileged youth.

 

  • The establishment of partnerships with local city organizations to offer training sessions, equipment and accessories, workshops, and clinics for City youth. Local city organizations include:

o   Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis

o   The Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Clubs

o   Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation

o   The Little Bit Foundation

o   Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis

o   New Dimensions Soccer Corporation

 

  • The endowment of up to 30 need-based scholarships for underprivileged youth from living in the City.
  • A minimum of eight visits from players, coaches and/or officials from the MLS expansion team to local City elementary schools to promote good sportsmanship and character development.
  • The anticipated implementation of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s “Soccer for Success” program within the City, focused on helping kids establish healthy habits and developing life skills through the implementation of “coach-mentors” and increasing family engagement.
  • The investment of $5 million from SC STL over the next 20 years to a subsidiary of the St. Louis Scott Gallagher non-profit 501(c)3 foundation dedicated to growing interest in youth soccer in the City.
  • The implementation of additional partnerships with local City organizations to donate soccer equipment to schools in the City, host soccer clinics, coordinate volunteer efforts with organizations like the St. Patrick’s Center and develop an annual fundraising campaign at stadium events with the United Way.
  • The commitment of no less than 100 free tickets to each MLS regular season home game to local City youth organizations including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, Kingdom House, New Dimensions Soccer Corporation, Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club and the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation.
  • The implementation of a program to provide up to 12 summer youth jobs to City residents age 16-25 through SC STL, as well as two SC STL internships to graduating seniors enrolled in St. Louis Public Schools.
  • 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 establishment of a partnership with Mission: St. Louis to provide up to 10 jobs per year for graduates of Mission: St. Louis’ Job & Leadership Training classes, as well as a partnership with local organizations such as the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and Mission: St. Louis to create a pipeline for hiring workers who live in the city.
  • The agreement that St. Louis Public Schools may use the new stadium up to four times annually for amateur soccer or football games, and up to two times annually for non-sporting events such as graduation ceremonies and conferences.
  • The agreement that the City may use the stadium once annually for hosting events, gatherings, or other community activities.
  • The commitment to build, at a minimum, a LEED Silver-certified stadium using sustainable construction materials, and the implementation in good faith of a procedure to source reasonably priced construction materials from manufacturers and vendors within the city.
  • The agreement that SC STL will work in good faith with the City to connect the security cameras installed within and around the stadium to the City’s Real Time Crime Center and to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department regarding access and storage of data. An additional camera will be installed by SC STL in good faith with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Bi-State Development Agency on the Union Station MetroLink platform nearby the proposed multipurpose stadium.
  • The implementation in good faith of a procedure to give preference to City residents to undertake projects related to the construction of the Stadium.

 

#MLS2STL

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  • MC

    I’m a city resident and will be voting YES for both propositions one and two. I encourage everyone to do the same. I am not a real huge sports fan. I like the arts. But this needs to pass. I believe great things will come out of this project.

  • Lucas Strittmatter

    More than a quarter of a billion dollars in public financing over thirty years…I’m skeptical.

  • Jason King

    I will vote no because I don’t enjoy watching sports and this community benefits agreement is weak sauce. But I think it could be a really nice outdoor concert venue.

  • kjohnson04

    They really want taxpayer money to fund something they could easily do themselves.

    • STLEnginerd

      ^I think everyone falls into that category. Any business can and often does ASK for money, the elected officials are elected to negotiate the proposals that are the best for their constituents.

      The question should only be how much is it worth for the taxpayers to ensure this team is established here rather than in some other city. Its worth SOMETHING but my feeling is the taxpayer sure be able to confidently come out on the financial upside of the proposal. Whether the deal as written constitute a positive ROI for the taxpayer
      is something they should be working to convince the voters but things like youth soccer programs, while excellent for the community, and incidentally for the organization to establish their brand locally, it doesn’t rise to the level of a financial return on investment.

      Personally, I’d like to see it pass. I think the city has done a reasonable job negotiating an approximately revenue neutral proposal, but the voters will have their say, and I’m somewhat pessimistic.

  • countenance

    Among competing hypotheses, the one with the most cynicism should be selected.

    SCSTL is bribing important black officials to turn out the black vote for Prop 2 in two weeks.

    That’s how all this PR gobbledygook should be translated. Easy as that. Nothin’ but soccer net.

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