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Almost shovel ready: Groundbreaking for FC Cincinnati's new stadium

WLWT Cincinnati logo WLWT Cincinnati 12/18/2018
a view of a city © Provided by Hearst Television, Inc.

Cincinnati soccer fans have a new date to add to their holiday list.

FC Cincinnati is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for its soccer stadium Monday.

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber will join those who own and run the franchise to symbolically break ground.

Dan Blunenfeld is one of several select fans who leads chants in the Bailey for The Pride.

He would not be content to simply read about the event or watch it on television later.

"I'm a Cincinnatian. It has to happen before I believe it's happening," he said. "I've lived here for a very long time and we've talked about lots of things. We have lots of conversations. And as soon as I turn that shovel and the dirt is moving, it's a real thing and it's actually happening and I cannot wait."

It will be a groundbreaking by committee.

The first 2,000 people to show up will get a free commemorative shovel to turn earth on cue.

Damon Briers will be gone by then.

He was moving everything out of his barber shop and carryout Friday, telling us he has been unable to find a new location so far.

His father, Eugene, started the business more than a half-century ago.

He was moving it all out as we arrived today. Not by choice. He knew this day was coming.

"I would like to stay in the West End," said Briers. "But, it's kind of hard now. Limited space available, I guess."

Brian Garry told us he's saddened by the neighborhood history that gets plowed under in the name of progress.

He sees the stadium as a behemoth that is ill-fitting for the West End he knows.

"I mean, we're already moving out the community restaurant, the community barber shop, the community store and these were residences to the left," said Garry with undeniable lament in his voice.

The work to clear the land is on schedule for a March 2021 opening.

Kevin Wallace, who has lived every critical moment of the effort to bring Major League Soccer to the city, said, "Everybody's talking about how they're going to try to get down there. It's going to be basically a big party atmosphere."

He emphasized the stadium isn't just for FC Cincinnati, but for the city as a whole.

The ceremony is set for 4 p.m.

"Since this is something we've been looking forward to for so long, I can't really think of a better gift," observed Blunenfeld. "We're going to see this temple of soccer finally being built and I cannot wait."

READ MORE:Almost shovel ready: Groundbreaking for FC Cincinnati's new stadium

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