On January 26, Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV) and the Austin City Council officially narrowed down their stadium search to two sites: Roy G. Guerrero Park in East Austin, and McKalla Place near the Domain. There are many reasons to believe that the Guerrero site would be an ideal location for a modern MLS soccer stadium.
There is a whole lot to love about this piece of land, and the area that surrounds it. First of all, there is a beautiful view of Lady Bird Lake and Downtown Austin. Downtown is only 1.9 miles away from the Northwest corner of the park. 183 runs along the East edge of the park and would provide access, along with Pleasant Valley on the west. The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail completes its loop at the park, giving fans another way to access the stadium.
The neighborhoods that flank the park are full of entertainment and culture. The nearby Holly and Central East Austin neighborhoods are 2 of the top 25 coolest neighborhoods in the country. According to Eater Austin, about half of the The 38 Essential Restaurants in Austin are within two miles, including one of the 12 best new restaurants in America. East Austin Studio Tour is an amazing annual showcase of over 500 local Austin artists. Oh, and if you’d like to have a pregame drink or two, there is an impressive and ever growing list of awesome breweries and bars that would be walkable from the stadium.
The Plaza Saltillo light rail station, which is surrounded by an ongoing 10 acre development project, is 1.5 miles away from the stadium. I’m sure the ownership group would happily arrange a shuttle service to and from, or you could stop by one of the aforementioned eateries or watering holes on your way to the game.
The new modern Oracle Corporation office is being completed right around the corner on East Riverside Drive, signalling the beginning of more and more economic investment into this part of town.
More than half of the residents of the four nearest zip codes to the park identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino. 34% of MLS viewers are Latino, while only 17.8% of the country identifies as such. There is perhaps no better place for a stadium in this part of town, that is the home to a lot of people whose love for the game holds a special cultural weight. Austin’s very own Sergio Tristán founded Pancho Villa’s Army, the primary Mexican National Team’s supporters group. Pancho Villa’s Army rallied together at the East Austin restaurant Takoba (which recently closed but will reopen for the 2018 World Cup), just down the road from Guerrero. The Austin chapter of the American Outlaws cheers on the U.S. teams at Haymaker, which is also on the East Side. Many passionate soccer fans already live and gather together in this part of town.
Sabino “Pio” Renteria, the Council Member who represents this area, District 3, shared his enthusiasm for bringing a professional soccer team to East Austin. “Soccer is very popular here in Austin, especially in my district, which has so many minorities. Now we have this great opportunity to do something big for them.”
“The trail that runs through Guerrero Park is beautiful, but you cannot use it,” he said. “It has some really heavy erosion from the Colorado River. Both bridges have been washed out. What I see is going to take millions of dollars to repair.”
There are 400 acres of land at this site, and a stadium would require a minimum of 15 acres. We can imagine that with the money and attention funnelled into this location, the entire park as a whole would benefit greatly.
We are excited that this park is under consideration. The location and it’s proximity to the heart of downtown make it ripe for improvement and full of possibilities.
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