A common theme in Tom Kirkendall's posts on Houston boondoggles is how the city would be much better off spending money on infrastructure improvements. That comes to mind when reading yesterday's Chronicle story about Mayor White's proposal to buy land for a sports complex he hopes the Dynamo will use:
The complex, a long-awaited home for youth and adult soccer teams, will probably include 18 playing fields, Mayor Bill White said. The council will need to approve the land purchase for $6.42 million.
Councilwomen Anne Clutterbuck and Melissa Noriega placed a one-week hold on the item. Clutterbuck said the administration did not give council members enough time before the Wednesday vote to review the details of the purchase.
The property is just northwest of the intersection of Almeda-Genoa and Texas 288.
White said the complex would include parking, but added that not all fields would be used for soccer.
He said the city would explore funding partnerships with corporate sponsors, Harris County and surrounding cities. The Houston Parks Board, a private nonprofit that supports parkland, will help raise private funds, White said.
White said the city will "highly encourage the Dynamo to build a practice facility on that land and pay a fair rental rate."
The city is still negotiating to purchase land downtown for a possible stadium for the MLS team. White reiterated his position that the stadium itself be privately constructed. He also said that if the deal with the Dynamo falls through, the city would find another use for the land or sell it.
That's an awful lot of wishing and hoping with millions of taxpayer dollars at stake. One would think these deals would be solid -- you know, with signatures and guarantees -- before the city loosens up the purse strings.