Fort Lauderdale Strikers Could be Forced Out Of Lockhart Stadium by End of June
The Sun Sentinel.com reported on Wednesday morning that the Fort Lauderdale Strikers could be forced out of Lockhart Stadium before the end of the season.
According to the article, both local high school sports and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers could be forced out of the Stadium by June 30th.
The article states:
The FAA has a strong say in what happens at the stadiums because it gave the property along with the land underneath adjacent Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to the city in 1947.
City officials vowed Tuesday a last-ditch appeal to the Federal Aviation Administration to salvage the teams’ use of the stadiums before they would be forced out at the end of the month. The city thought it had a deal with the FAA to allow the teams to stay while long-term redevelopment plans are negotiated, but the FAA recently laid out new demands.
The FAA’s position has stunned the city, the school system and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers soccer team.
The article explains that the 20,000 seat Lockhart Stadium, which clearly has seen been days, has been the home of high school sports to Fort Lauderdale schools for 50 years. It is currently the home field for both Fort Lauderdale High School and Stranahan High School football teams.
Traffic Sports, who owns the Strikers, formerly Miami FC, moved the team to Lockhart last season. The team also uses the stadium as their training grounds.
The FAA has plans to work with the Schlitterbahn Development Group to build a new water park resort as well as a recreational complex for local sports. The proposal for the new development is believed to be around $110 million and could draw as many as 10,000 visitors a day.
“We will try to do everything possible to make sure these teams can stay,” Mayor Jack Seiler said.
IMS talked to a source from Miami on Wednesday who did not want to go on record but was familiar with the situation. The source explained that the FAA owns the property that Lockhart Stadium sits on. The Ft. Lauderdale Public Schools then leases that land from the FAA and rents the stadium out to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
According to the source, they believed the situation to be more fluid than the Sun Sentinel represented and seemed optimistic that the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers would be able to strike a deal that would take them through the end of the NASL season. A new lease would have to be struck with the FAA which would take them through the playoffs. However, that new lease could also mean a rent increase for the Strikers.
That same source also believed that the FAA would hold fast on the requirement for the school district to move out by June 30th deadline.
If the Strikers were forced to leave the stadium at the end of the year they would surely have to find an interim situation for the team for the 2012 season. But the new water park/recreational area could be an ideal location to build a new soccer specific stadium for the Strikers.
The North American Soccer League was contacted for a statement. They told IMS they would not be making any comments but they are monitoring the situation closely.