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May 30, 2014
NYC FC, Manhattanville drop plans for training facility

By Michael Lewis Editor

New York City FC is searching for new training site.

Manhattanville College and NYC FC announced Friday morning that they decided to end their proposed partnership for a training facility at the school due to a pending lawsuit.

NYC FC, which will compete in Major League Soccer as an expansion team starting next year, had planned to to build a practice field and renovate facilities at the college in Westchester County, but the the Purchase Environmental Protective Association and several local residents had filed lawsuits against the town of Harrison planning board, Manhattanville College and NYC FC to stop the plan.

“Over the past several months, New York City Football Club has engaged in a transparent, community driven process required by the Town of Harrison Planning Board," NYC FC spokesperson Risa Heller said. "During that time, our organization participated in three public meetings and answered every question posed to us by the community and the planning board about the proposed training facility’s size, scope, construction timeline and more. After the presentations and public hearings, the planning board voted to approve our application. We are disappointed that this group has worked to overturn the actions of the town-appointed board, and that it has caused Manhattanville College to be denied this substantial improvement to their campus.”

Earlier in the day, Manhattanville College president Jon C. Strauss addressed the issue.

"It is unfortunate that a small group of very well resourced citizens chose to pursue this action against the College," he said in a statement. "Had this partnership come to fruition, it would have provided $10 million in much needed capital improvements, important academic and internship opportunities, and invaluable publicity to the College. Moreover, the planned NYCFC Academy teams and summer soccer camps would have been of great benefit to the youth of Purchase and Westchester County. Our student body and local youth have lost a tremendous opportunity here."

In a press release on the school's athletic website, it was also stated:

"In these trying times of increasing competition for a declining pool of potential students, the planned facility improvements, the temporary presence of a first quality professional soccer team on campus, the attendant publicity, and increased academic and internship opportunities for students would have been a great boon to the College, its students, and the community."

The Harrison planning board approved the proposal at iits April 22 meeting.

PEPA and three Purchase residents sought a temporary restraining order to stop construction of the project from starting.

On May 7, the judge assigned to the case refused to grant the TRO and made a schedule for the submission of legal briefs, with a decision on the case scheduled for on or after June 25. But because NYC FC needed a facility by the late winter and the possibility of litigation continuing on at least a year, the soccer club "concluded reluctantly that [it] could not await the outcome of the litigation," the press release said.

So, NYC FC decided to end its business relationship with Manhattanville.

NYC FC officials were not immediately available for comment.

It was not known where the club would look for a new traiing site.

The club, which plans to call Yankee Stadium its temporary home, still has experienced problems trying to find a permanent stadium site in New York City.
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