John Sherman reveals plans to move Royals from Kauffman Stadium, explore new ballpark
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - In a multi-page statement posted Tuesday, Royals Chairman and CEO John Sherman said the Royals want to move out of Kauffman and addressed the idea of a downtown stadium.
Sherman’s full statement is available here, which you should be sure to check out. It includes two artist renderings of the future stadium.
“The renovations required at The K to achieve our objectives would cost as much or more than the price tag to develop a new ballpark,” Sherman says at one point. “A new home would be a far better investment, both for local taxpayer dollars already supporting our facility, and for the Kansas City community.”
“A year ago, we announced that we were undertaking a diligent, deliberate, and transparent process to explore the possibility of a new ballpark district,” Sherman continues. “We said we would look at various locations across the city that will allow for residential, commercial, and community components.”
“We are excited to now share that we have several leading locations under close consideration, both in downtown Kansas City and close to it,” Sherman continues.
Sherman added that they will seek input from the public over the coming months.
He also said that the plan to move is contingent upon the Royals continuing their public-private partnership, as well as upon investment with multiple local jurisdictions and the state of Missouri.
Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas approached the news with some enthusiasm but also a lot of concern that it has to be done right. That involves the specifics of where and who’s paying for it.
The good news about the announcement is a commitment to staying in Kansas City. What about the commitment they expect in return, though? Already, Mayor Lucas reminded us, the city spends $2 million a year from its general fund for the upkeep of the Truman Sports Complex as a whole.
“To the extent that there’s some increase, which I anticipate perhaps there might be, the question for us is, ‘How does that give us a good return on our investment?’” Lucas said.
Creating a stadium district downtown involves more than just buildings. Perhaps you remember when the Kansas Speedway was built? Lucas noted there were highway exits, big infrastructure additions, and improvements.
Many have asked, “Where would everyone park?” Lucas said parking is the least of his concerns.
Lucas said, “I think the biggest question is, ‘How do we handle the volume?’ ‘How do we make sure that we’re not destroying or changing any neighborhood to a negative extent?’ And importantly, ‘What’s the cost?’”
Mayor Lucas said that potential locations that are available include the Crossroads and the 18th & Vine district. However, it’s not just the Royals. In his opinion, it’s also important to be sure that the Chiefs don’t also leave where they are. That would leave a big empty lot.
It’s a lot to consider.
“Downtown baseball works in a lot of places,” Lucas said. “I’ve been in my share of St. Louis Cardinals games and others. So, it’s not something that we’re scared of. However, it is something that we want to say makes financial sense, makes good geographic sense for the people of Kansas City in this region. And, more than anything of course, makes sense to keep the Royals and the Chiefs in Kansas City.”
Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. also released a statement regarding today’s news.
Sherman’s full statement is below:
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