Take a bow, Jackson County voters. You saved the Kansas City Royals and major league baseball for this community.
Thanks to a three-eighths-cent sales tax passed in 2006 in the county, the Royals got $225 million in local public dollars to help renovate Kauffman Stadium. New concourses, more concession stands and other upgrades made it a fancier — and more expensive — place for fans to visit.
This week, Jackson Countians and others will stream into Kauffman to watch the Royals play the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series.
The Royals, after two heart-stopping victories in Baltimore, are just two more wins away from going to the World Series for the first time since 1985.
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But if it had been up to Johnson Countians, who knows if the Royals would still even be in Kansas City?
Go back to 2004, when promoters of stadium improvements sought something called Bistate Two.
It was a proposed sales tax increase in Jackson, Clay and Platte counties on the Missouri side, and in Johnson and Wyandotte counties on the Kansas side.
The money would have been used to update the Truman Sports Complex and to improve arts funding in the metropolitan area.
It was modeled after the first, successful bistate tax in 1999, which provided public funds required to restore Union Station.
Unfortunately, voters on the Kansas side defeated the second bistate tax. And even though Jackson Countians endorsed it, the bistate tax needed approval from at least Jackson and Johnson counties to take effect.
So, two years later, civic leaders decided to ask Jackson Countians to pass the new sales tax, this time for just the Truman Sports Complex upgrade.
It passed, the improvements were made and, years later, the Royals finally are providing fans with the chance to see playoff baseball in October.