Oakland business leaders are getting behind a proposed new Oakland A’s ballpark, and in the process are urging elected leaders to work with the team.
Last week, the A’s announced that a site near Laney College was their preferred choice for the location of a new ballpark in Oakland. The location beat out two other contenders–the existing Oakland Coliseum site and Howard Terminal–and has been cited as having a few advantages, including a close proximity to downtown Oakland and access to the Lake Merritt BART Station.
Yet in certain circles, there are concerns about the team’s choice, as some fear that the ballpark could lead to the displacement of area businesses and residents. There has also been something of a tepid reaction to this point from Oakland elected officials.
Many in the Oakland business community, as well as come civic groups, however, are coming out in favor of the proposal. Citing the potential to keep the team in Oakland, as well as how the A’s have handled their search to this point, business leaders are asking elected officials and residents to work with the team. More from SF Gate:
“I am looking for our mayor and elected leaders to set the right tone for the one shot we have at keeping a sports team in Oakland. The A’s are committed to a transparent and inclusive yearlong community process,” Barbara Leslie, president of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, said in an email. “This is an honest and refreshing commitment by a sports franchise who cares about and is committed to our city.”
Carl Chan, a board member of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said Oakland’s elected leaders should have the “backbone” to stand up for the project.
“Many people would love to focus on the problems,” he said. “But many of us here, we’re going to focus on all the solutions.”
The A’s have plenty of work to do to make the proposed privately-financed, $500-million ballpark a reality. The team needs to reach a final agreement with the Peralta Community College District relating to the land–a process that could take at least a year–and will likely need to secure public money for infrastructure work. Estimates call for the ballpark to open in 2023.
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