The List: Predicting the next Columbus city tie to the Crew Stadium funding plan

Andy Downing
Rendering of Columbus Crew Stadium

When officials first announced plans to build a new Downtown soccer stadium following the successful #SaveTheCrew campaign, the city’s contribution to construction, as well as a revamp of Mapfre Stadium into a practice facility and sports park, was pegged at $50 million. Subsequent Dispatch reporting estimated the cost to the city at more than twice that amount — a figure that appears to have grown again with today’s Dispatch report that more directly ties the Nationwide Arena loan to the Crew land sale.

The city’s lack of transparency in terms of its stadium funding plan is further fuel for critics of the project, and continued proof that public funding for sports stadiums is universally a poor investment. And none of this is meant as a slight to the #SaveTheCrew folks, who should remain rightfully enthused that the team is staying put while still questioning the apparent lack of forthrightness shown by city leadership when it comes to the finances of the deal.

Considering the steady drip of new information about the funding plan, we thought we’d take a stab at predicting just how deep these stadium ties actually go. Here's where we see the trail leading next:

Lynd Fruit Farm’s canceled pick-your-own Honeycrisp crop of 2018

At the time, the cancellation was attributed to a combination of high temperatures and excessive rains leading to a garbage crop. In reality, it will be discovered that the best apples were actually confiscated by the city and gifted in fruit baskets sent exclusively to Nationwide executives. (Editor’s Note: You bastards.)

AmeriFlora ’92/The Franklin Park Cascades restoration

We’re betting that uncovered faxes will trace the ties between AmeriFlora ’92, a historic debacle that has received fresh attention in the last year with the city approving more than $2 million to repair the forever malfunctioning Franklin Park Cascades, and a stadium deal that is making a run for its forehead-smacking crown.

Neighborhood complaints against Wunderbar

With rumors that the German Village establishment isn’t long for this world (the bar spiked drag shows and other entertainment following neighborhood complaints, and the space appears in for a larger overhaul), it will eventually be revealed that the whisper campaign was spearheaded by the Crew’s new owner, with direction from the city, in order to pave the way for new soccer hot spot Haslambar.

The legal weed “oligarchies” talking point of 2015

Remember those few months when there was a sudden spike in your stoner friends using the term “oligarchy”? Well, now we know why. (Also, thank goodness subsequent weed legislation has kept the potential financial windfall from being restricted to a select few corporate entities.)

The closure of Downtown’s Third Street ramp to 70E

If you can’t exit Downtown, maybe, just maybe, you’ll stick around for a nearby soccer match.

The Short North parking plan

Because of course it is.

The milquetoast slate of summer 2020 Express Live bookings

There are exceptions (Brittany Howard, for one, assuming the Alabama Shakes singer actually performs outdoors), but acts like Cake, Awolnation, Old Crow Medicine Show, Parkway Drive, Primus and cover band Brit Floyd have generated a collective shrug in the Alive offices that we will eventually be able to trace directly to the stadium deal.

Xenos rebranding as Dwell

Because the Dwell corporate suite at Crew Stadium sounds like a far more comfortable, inviting space than Xenos would have.

Campus Partners’ High Street “reinvention”

We expect a treasure trove of documents to reveal that the ongoing campus scrubbing was merely practice for the equally sanitary Arena District strip that will undoubtedly exist outside of the new stadium.

Nina West’s early elimination from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

If you thought this was part of a larger conspiracy, you will be proven correct.

Smart Columbus

Expect uncovered emails to reveal that the city’s self-driving shuttles are merely being used to test electronic sensor technology that will be deployed in sudden-stopping robotic soccer referees set to debut once Crew games shift to the new stadium.

The print death of Alive

Once again: You bastards.