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Lexington Pro Soccer postpones hearing on KY soccer stadium

Lexington’s new professional soccer franchise in USL League One will be called Lexington Sporting Club, the team announced Tuesday.

Lexington’s new professional soccer franchise in USL League One will be called Lexington Sporting Club, the team announced Tuesday.

Lexington Sporting Club

A bid by Lexington Sporting Club to build a new soccer stadium off of Newtown Pike in Lexington has been indefinitely postponed as the professional soccer club looks for other suitable locations.

Anderson Communities, which owns the land off of Newtown Pike where Lexington Sporting Club has proposed the new stadium, asked the Urban County Planning Commission Thursday to postpone its application for a zone text amendment to allow a stadium on land in the economic development zone near Newtown Pike and Interstates 75 and 64.

Richard Murphy, a lawyer for Anderson Communities, told the commission that the professional sports club has notified Anderson Communities it is looking at other locations. Murphy said Anderson Communities has not yet decided if it will move forward with the zone text amendment and asked that it be postponed indefinitely.

Vince Gabbert, president of Lexington Sporting Club, said they are looking at other locations. Gabbert said they are not far enough along in the process to announce those locations yet. The Newtown Pike location is not off the table.

“Before we went back to the planning commission or the board of adjustment we wanted to have a final location,” Gabbert said Thursday after the postponement. “We have been looking at one or two other locations and once we have something finalized we will be back before planning.”

The location of the new professional soccer team’s stadium and youth playing fields has been controversial.

The Fayette Alliance, a nonprofit which represents rural land interests, has opposed the zone text amendment that would allow stadiums in economic development zones. Economic development zones are specially designed to create jobs. The stadium would not create the types of jobs the zone was originally created to serve, the alliance has argued.

Those that support allowing the stadium in the economic development zone said the area was a good fit for a stadium. It’s close to I -75 and I-64, and the stadium would also be near other businesses in the area, including multiple hotels, restaurants and gas stations.

The Lexington Sporting Club had proposed nearly a dozen youth soccer fields on land off of Newtown Pike adjacent to the land where the club wants to put the soccer stadium. The group ultimately withdrew that proposal after it was approved due to opposition from landowners and horse farms in the area.

It recently received approval to put those youth soccer fields off of Athens-Boonesboro Road near Interstate 75. Lexington Sporting Club has more than 1,400 youth and teens in their soccer program. The additional youth sports fields were necessary for tournaments, they have said.

The hunt for a location for a stadium has also been fraught with problems.

The group originally proposed putting the soccer stadium on the High Street parking lot across from Central Bank Center and Rupp Arena. It ultimately withdrew that proposal.

The USL League One team is expected to start playing in spring 2023. It will initially play at a local college facility while a stadium is built, Gabbert said.

They are hoping to have a permanent home by 2024, he said.

Lexington Sporting Club has said the stadium will seat between 6,000 to 10,000 people. It will cost roughly $25 to $40 million. It will take between 16 and 22 months to complete.

This story was originally published September 22, 2022 2:45 PM.

Beth Musgrave has covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for more than a decade. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has worked as a reporter in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Washington D.C.

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