One of the perks of living in north central Ohio is that not only do we have wonderful shopping, attractions, and amenities close to home – particularly here in Richland County – but that we are also in short driving distance to experiences with world class cultural and entertainment options.

On occasion, we share news of major developments taking place in the Cleveland or Columbus areas that provide such opportunities for Richland Countians. One such project was announced this past week which may well put a holiday smile on the faces of soccer fans in Mansfield, Shelby, Ontario, Lexington, and elsewhere.

From a City of Columbus press release:

City and county officials along with the Columbus Partnership have announced next steps in the purchase of Columbus Crew SC and details of a plan for MAPFRE Stadium. Working under the deadline imposed by Major League Soccer to keep the Crew in Columbus, the families of Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, and Dr. Peter Edwards of Columbus have been working to complete the purchase by the end of the year.

The City, county and new ownership are working toward a Memorandum of Understand (MOU) to solidify the details of the sale of the team, a new soccer stadium and the repurposing of MAPFRE Stadium. The City has committed funds for infrastructure and land for a new stadium, while the County will be contributing money as well.

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced that part of the proposal includes moving the Crew’s practice facility to MAPFRE Stadium once the new stadium is complete. The stadium will be turned into the Columbus Community Sports Park, a shared-use center with an indoor soccer field and basketball courts, tournament-level outdoor athletic fields and programming spaces for multigenerational activities.

“We are excited about the possibilities of new ownership of the Columbus Crew and all that will bring to the City. Part of that plan must include reimagining the existing stadium, so we are investing in a community sports complex that will serve the people of Columbus,” said Mayor Ginther.“Nearly 200,000 residents live within three miles of this location. It will benefit residents of all ages and strengthen the connection between the soccer club and the City.”

“This multi-sport community athletic facility is going to bea jewel in our community, and such a great feature in the lives of our residents,”said Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown.  “It’s exciting to be apart of the creation of a lasting piece of infrastructure in this neighborhood,and to help find new purpose for such an iconic stadium.”

Some facts about the proposed new soccer stadium and mixed-use development:

Renderings of the new stadium can be seen below.

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