Since the Dynamo arrived to Houston from San Jose in 2006, there has been talk of building a soccer-specific stadium on the East End. This past Saturday, Dynamo supporters who say they have waited long enough held a rally to support their orange-clad heroes.
"We come here today as Dynamo fans and supporters, Dynamo's Supporters Alliance has come together to share voices in support of the Dynamo's stadium contract," said Eric Nordstrom, a fan who helped organize the rally.
For the past couple of weeks, Nordstrom and friends have been hitting online soccer forums, Facebook, and Twitter to gain as much support as possible. Their goal - persuade city and county officials to finalize a deal with the Dynamo on a downtown stadium. The rally was held on an empty lot on the corner of Dowling and Capitol, one of six blocks where the proposed stadium would be built.
"Make no mistake about it, this land is hallowed ground, and shall be hallowed ground forever," Nordstrom said during a speech. "We come tonight to share our voices, and to ask our elected officials to participate in TIRZ 15."
The proposed stadium for the Dynamo has an $80-million-dollar price tag. The Dynamo have agreed to fork over $60 million towards the cost of construction for the facility. The other $20 million would go towards utilities and road construction. The city, which purchased the six blocks east of downtown for $15 million, has agreed to put $10 million in the TIRZ (tax increment reinvestment zone) if Harris County puts up the other half. That decision from the County Commissioners is still pending.
Geoff Lyon, a resident of East End who lives blocks away from the site of the proposed stadium, told Hair Balls that a stadium would help revitalize an otherwise neglected part of town. "We're really for the stadium because we think it is going to bring some commerce over here, it is going to bring some of the downtown action and excitement over to the East End."
Lyon, who's a season ticket holder, had no idea the rally was taking place last Saturday.
When he and his wife were going to grab a bite to eat, they saw Dynamo supporters tailgating before the rally. They decided to hang out to show their support for the two-time MLS Cup Champions. "We go to the games and it's a lot of fun. We bring all of our neighbors and we bring people who don't know a lot about soccer, and we go and have a blast. It is going to be even more awesome if they have their own stadium."
According to Nordstrom, this rally was the first of three they hope to organize. The supporters hope to hear from team officials and political leaders at the next rally, namely Mayor Annise Parker and County Commissioners Sylvia Garcia and El Franco Lee. The next rally is scheduled on Saturday, February 20.