It looks like the idea of a new downtown Kansas City Royals ballpark once again surfaced — and, thank goodness, the idea was shot down by the Royals and Jackson County officials.
Replacing Kauffman Stadium has been the goal of some downtown developers for some time now, and indeed the team flirted with the notion of a downtown ballpark before Jackson County voters in 2006 approved a 0.375 percent sales tax hike to upgrade the ballpark and Arrowhead Stadium. Those upgrades were accompanied by an extension to the team’s lease to 2031 — keeping the Truman Sports Complex safe from any team moves to a downtown ballpark.
But nothing apparently is sacred, and the idea of a new downtown Kansas City Royals ballpark was brought up again, per the Kansas City Star:
Sources tell The Star that downtown interests — led by the Downtown Council, a business group — and a county official met with the Royals within the past 90 days to talk about a ballpark in the heart of the city….
In the meeting, sources tell The Star, the team indicated it still has no interest in moving to a downtown stadium. The team’s opposition has long been a hurdle to any serious discussion of downtown baseball.
Jackson County now says it isn’t keen on the idea, either. “The County is not advocating for, nor funding any efforts for any stadium relocation,” the county’s statement said.
Now, there’s no doubt downtown Kansas City would be boosted with the construction of a new downtown Kansas City Royals ballpark. But Kauffman Stadium, which opened in 1973 as Royals Stadium, is an historic venue. It was designed solely as a baseball facility, and as such features some great sight lines. At a time when Jackson County is looking at infrastructure improvements and a sorely needed airport upgrade, spending hundreds of millions on a new ballpark (a number that could double once the Kansas City Chiefs demand equal treatment) doesn’t seem to be a wise investment.