Soccer Stadium Plans at Prairieland Park Paused Amid Rising Costs, Inflation Worries

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The ambitious plan to construct a soccer stadium at Prairieland Park has been put on hold, according to the corporation’s leadership. The escalating costs of construction, rising interest rates, and mounting inflation concerns are behind the pause.

Dan Kemppainen, CEO of Prairieland Park Corporation, hinted that much has changed since initial discussions commenced several years ago between Prairieland Park and Living Sky Sports and Entertainment (LSSE) about constructing a state-of-the-art soccer stadium.

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However, while the plan is currently stalled, Kemppainen stressed that it’s not completely dead. Acknowledging the tough decisions businesses often have to make, he confirmed the pause for the time being.

Earlier in March 2021, an agreement between the two parties earmarked the Marquis Downs Racecourse site as the venue for a new $28-million stadium. LSSE secured exclusive rights to develop and launch a Canadian Premier League (CPL) expansion team, which would play at the new 5,000-seat stadium. This arena was expected to host rugby matches, outdoor concerts, lacrosse games, and other events.

However, Kemppainen disclosed that the recent estimate to build the stadium was at least $30 million, a figure that may have since risen, thereby rendering the project financially untenable for now. Funding for the project was supposed to be a collective effort, with Prairieland Park, private donors, and government providing the required capital. However, Kemppainen confessed that it’s not an opportune time for such initiatives.

Saskatoon soccer enthusiasts are disheartened, with fans like Geordie Cowan expressing feelings of betrayal. The aspiration to enjoy the energy of live soccer matches, surrounded by passionate hometown crowds, seems increasingly elusive.

Kemppainen dismissed suggestions that the pause was due to a $10 million lawsuit by ex-partner Joe Belan, alleging that he was cut out of the deal by Living Sky and Prairieland Park. However, Cowan contends that the lawsuit might have hindered progress on the stadium’s construction.

The cessation of horse racing events at Marquis Downs came as a disappointment. Kemppainen explained that horse racing had been a losing proposition for the corporation for years. All the leftover infrastructure from the racecourse, from dirt and equipment to turnstiles, are being donated to Moosomin Downs, a forthcoming racecourse northwest of Saskatoon.

Pending the progress of the lawsuit in the court, Kemppainen refrained from further comment. However, he encouraged fans to remain optimistic about the possibility of repurposing the stadium. Living Sky, hesitant to comment on Wednesday, made no statement in response to Prairieland’s Tuesday’s release.