Cleveland.com's Tom Reed had a story earlier tonight that the Cleveland Browns announced that they will keep their training camp in Berea for the 2015 preseason, but team owner Jimmy Haslam dropped strong hints that he's looking to move camp down I-71.
It's well known and reported that we have been talking to Columbus about potentially moving down there in a couple years, but nothing has been finalized. - Haslam
With quotes like those, it sounds as if it's a matter of time before the Browns and the City of Columbus are holding a joint press conference.
The interesting — and Crew SC related item — comes a little later in the story:
If the Browns hold camp in the state capital, it's likely to be on the grounds that are home to the Columbus Crew, the city's pro soccer team. The proposed multi-use facility, which already includes Crew Stadium, would benefit the Crew, the Browns and area youth sports teams.
Reed is a former Dispatch sports writer and has covered Crew SC games in the past. He has ties to the area and certainly has contacts to back up the assertion that a major project is close to a reality in the Fairgrounds area.
The team has been long searching to upgrade the training facilities in Obetz that were built in 1997 on a shoestring budget and is showing it's age. The Fairgrounds facility sounds like it would be a training facility with youth fields included. The key issue would be finding space for what sounds like several multi-use fields that would be able to handle the traffic that Cleveland Browns training camp would bring in.
This plan significantly impacts Crew SC's stadium situation and reinforces the idea that Crew Stadium is the team's home for the mid-term. The team recently announced a $100,000 investment in Crew Stadium and recent conversations with front office personnel sees the team as an anchor of an area revitalization project to reposition the Ohio State Fairgrounds area as a gateway to the University District.
The team has declined to comment previously to rumors of possible construction of a facility, but recent comments from Haslam may mean the project just might get the kick it needs to get moving.