Kansas City Royals fans are pretty excited these days. Making it to the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series with a chance to win the championship will do that for a long-frustrated fan base.
That helps explain why there’s a hot-button topic that’s suddenly getting a lot of attention.
People are talking about building a brand new downtown baseball stadium that — it’s hoped — could be the next important piece of reviving that important part of the urban core.
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A few words of background.
First, why put taxpayers as the main source of revenue? Because the public in Kansas City has always funneled the majority of funds into building or rebuilding stadiums for the Royals, Chiefs and Sporting KC.
Second, it’s a little odd to get this worked up about yet another downtown ballpark idea when the current lease with the Royals has them playing at Kauffman Stadium (renovated just several years ago) until 2031. That’s a long time from now.
Third, it’s even more odd to be having these conversations when Royals owner David Glass was the man responsible about a decade ago for pulling the plug at the time on the idea of building a downtown ballpark. This was when the community was looking at whether it should renovate Kauffman Stadium. Glass didn’t want to throw more than $25 million into the $250 million package of improvements planned for Kauffman. So the question for the future would be: Why would anyone think Glass would help finance a new downtown ballpark that could cost $500 million or so?
Fourth, now we get to the really good part: David Glass won’t own the team. Cerner’s Neal Patterson will. At least that’s the name a number of Kansas Citians throw out whenever they’re frustrated with Glass. Patterson supposedly has the money to make the deal and, through his part ownership of Sporting, at least a passing interest in the world of professional sports.
So there you have it: Sometime in the next few years or even decade, Patterson gets to own the Royals, asks for a big taxpayer assistance to build a downtown stadium and all of us live happily ever after.
Unless this kind of deal goes to the ballot box and people defeat it there, that is.