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October 30, 2005

Baseball stadium

Choosing between upgrading Kauffman Stadium, building a baseball stadium downtown or doing nothing will ultimately rest with Jackson County taxpayers. Having a major-league baseball team is a benefit to the entire metropolitan area, so why is it that Jackson County taxpayers have to foot the entire bill?

Since Jackson County has the bulk of low-income persons and a per capita income lower than most of the other counties in our metro area, it seems that Jackson County taxpayers should select upgrading Kauffman Stadium.

If it is to the benefit of the metro area to have a new stadium downtown, then the Downtown Council should promote a plan to have the metro area pay for it.

Further, if those who own property or will benefit in other ways from a downtown stadium don’t live in Jackson County, it is unreasonable and disingenuous to ask for a Jackson County sales tax to finance their stadium.

Larry N. Blick
Independence

There is so much talk about how to finance the required renovations and repairs at Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums.

The bistate tax measure did not pass. Now there is talk about additional taxes for Jackson County in order to come up with the money. It seems that we already pay our fair share for the stadium.

What about all of the ticket holders who are not Jackson County residents? They pay the same price for their season tickets as I do. They pay no taxes to support the stadiums either.

I would suggest a stadium use fee be added to each ticket for non-Jackson County residents. If they do not have a street address in Jackson County, they would be subject to the extra fee.

It only seems fair that those who enjoy the stadiums should have to pay their fair share to maintain it. As you walk through the parking lot it is obvious that many more than just Jackson County residents are enjoying the stadium that they do not help support.

Cathi Christina
Independence

Comments

Sammy

Larry, We like winners. Until the Royals start winning the downtown stadium is a lost cause. Why should the city take a huge risk by giving David Glass a new stadium when he's not willing to take a risk to give us a winning team?

DG seems to lack two things required to have a winning program. First, a fighting spirit to want to present a winning team. Second, the financial wherewithal to fund a 2-3 years of losses on payroll to build a competitive team that'll attract bigger crowds and fatter media contracts. In reality, those losses would probably suck up 25% - 50% of his net worth before things possibly turned around - and it's still a gamble. But, I think the first is much more important than the second. Just like businesses started by entrepreneurs who have the fighting spirit often succeed where businesses started by those with the financial wherewithal fail.

Chris

I'm lost.

I'm 30 years old and my wife and I just moved from the east coast to Kansas City a year ago after work transferred me. I live and work in the downtown loop.

What confuses me is why there is so much opposition about a downtown ballpark. Almost every major city in the United States has moved their professional sports stadium in the last 20 years to downtown (including some pretty poor teams similar to the Royals). It seems with all the new downtown development it would make even more sense to relocate to a new stadium that spending much of that money to upgrade a 30 year old stadium.

Is there some historical information I'm missing about downtown KC that makes so many people "freak out" about the talk of a downtown baseball stadium? Unless there is some sort of radioactive material or environmental reason I don't know about, I don't understand the argument. Please explain to the newbie.

- Confused

Matt

One memory I have from my childhood was when dad took us all to the newly built Royals stadium to watch a baseball game.

I don't remember much about the game, maybe the fountains, and what seemed like the voice of God booming from the huge scoreboard.

I also remember a huge escalator that we took into the stadium, and as we were nearing the top, my brothers and I would put pennies on the side of the escalator and watch them slide down. To a seven year old, this is hilarious stuff, even more so if the pennies hit someone as they launched off the end of the rail.

I also remember the time my older brothers came home terrified (it’s rare you see your older brothers scared about anything – and at that age, rarer still to see them dropped off by the police), after being assaulted at knifepoint down at the existing downtown ballpark.

A year or so later, I can recall the conversations between my parents and their friends about how happy everyone was that someone finally did something about the problem of the deteriorating downtown stadium – at least now their kids could go to a ‘decent’ place to enjoy a game.

Praise be to the city leaders for having the insight and fortitude to build a ballpark away from the nastiness and decay of downtown!

And then there was Worlds of Fun, Independence Center - a whole world of new wholesome goodness to be enjoyed!

Ah, memories.

But let’s get back to the present.

I just can’t seem to put it out of my mind that the Royals are absolutely horrid baseball players; and the people who actually pay to see them play are few and far between.

I don’t know anyone who holds season tickets, and I don’t know anyone who knows anyone that holds these types of tickets.

Not that I know a lot of people, but still.

I’ve also yet to hear a good explanation as to the realtionship between athletic ability and game location. They play all over the United States... and lose. They play at home.... and lose.

Do people really like to watch a team lose downtown, as opposed to other places? Is this going to be a magical stadium, where special baseball power is granted to the home team?

Why can't we be satisfied to watch (or in most cases, hear about) those wacky Royals losing game after game in the stadium they already have?

On the flipside, I must say an empty ballpark, sitting next to an empty Sprint arena, would indeed be a site to behold - perhaps bringing in tourists from as far away as 45 miles from Kansas City.

And who knows.... if we build a new stadium downtown, in 40 years or so, the city leaders can argue that a ballpark certainly has no business being downtown.

 
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