Plans For A Downtown GR Stadium: Real Or A Fever Dream?
Sketches of a proposed $124-million soccer stadium have been posted online. Are they even remotely real?
The Sketch Shows A 7000 Stadium Slated The Near West Side
The sketch (seen below) has popped up on several Grand Rapids related forums, shows a soccer stadium going up on the near West Side, south of Bridge Street between Summer and Winter Drives, where the parking lot for the Downtown YMCA currently sits.
The stadium would house a minor league team in the USL, replacing the Grand Rapids Football Club, which met a quick demise after getting the boot from Midtown's Houseman Field a few years back.
When in Midtown, the Blue had a huge following, referred to as the Grand Army, which brought out some crowds that at times hit close to 7000 at their peak. After failing to renew the lease, the team moved to the Midwest United complex on 36th Street, but the remote location failed to generate the same support, and they eventually went under.
How Real Are These Plans?
I've seen several ideas for a downtown stadium floating online many times before, but none, even though they allegedly appeared to have legitimate backing, ever came to fruition, so call me beyond skeptical.
A thread on the Urban Planet web site teases some big announcement coming soon to GR, but since it is vague on what that might be, many have speculated it may be the stadium.
The location of this stadium proposal seems even weirder, given the tight fit into the lot given. I would never say never, but I give this about a less than ten percent chance of happening.
Would GR Support Soccer, And Other Stadium Events?
That being said, I believe a mid-level stadium with a little bigger capacity could be a boon to the city, if its privately funded.
Once commenter on Reddit added this caveat, which I like:
It has to be able to be easily converted to football. I don't think GVSU would move off campus but they could arrange the GLIAC schedule so they are playing Saginaw Valley at home in the years they play at Ferris. Or GVSU-Davenport would be there every year (or both honestly). Build it big enough and you might have a legit shot at Western-Central...
Time will tell...with a January 2023 groundbreaking date on the sketch, I guess we'll find out soon enough.