Things aren’t perfect in Kansas City. But at least we don’t live in St. Louis right now.
In the latest dose of bad news for that city, it appears the Rams football team soon may have an opening to leave for Los Angeles County in the next few years.
A story breaking Monday says Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build a National Football League-ready stadium there. The announcement has reignited concerns that Kroenke, long unhappy with the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis, will move.
St. Louis officials and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon for months have tried to find ways to keep the Rams in the city. Estimates are that a proposal to do so could cost local and state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
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Sound familiar, Kansas Citians? Jackson County taxpayers helped foot the bill for costly upgrades last decade to keep the Chiefs and Royals at the Truman Sports Complex.
From the Los Angeles Times: “Kroenke’s Inglewood plans ratchet up pressure on St. Louis to either strike a deal for a new stadium or watch the team return to Southern California, where it played from 1946 to 1994.”
The Rams story comes on the heels of other pieces of concerning news for St. Louis.
▪ The city just ended 2014 with 159 murders, up 30 percent from 2013. Overall, the murder rate in St. Louis places it among the bloodiest cities in America.
In Kansas City, however, homicides fell from 100 in 2013 to 76 last year, the lowest in more than four decades. While headed in the right direction, the number still remains alarmingly high compared with many other large urban cities.
▪ The entire St. Louis area has borne the brunt of bad negative national publicity in recent months. The events in Ferguson and other suburbs have included the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer and how municipalities use traffic fines to rake in funds to keep their governments operating.
▪ Finally, the population in the city of St. Louis has plummeted from 857,000 in 1950 to below the 319,000 mark. And the most recent figures show a continued decline.
Kansas City’s population has been on a more positive trajectory, moving from 435,000 in 1990 to an estimated 467,000 in 2013.
The fate of the Rams is important to many people in St. Louis. They don’t want to lose an NFL team for a second time. But it appears they just might, which would be yet another body blow to that city.