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Sherman shares update on new Royals ballpark–but few new details

Kansas City owner John Sherman shared an open letter about the status of a new Royals ballpark, but platitudes aside, it contained very few details about what the American League team has planned.

Sherman has shared many tidbits of information about the status of planning for a new Royals ballpark, such as winnowing the search to two sites in Jackson County and Clay County, as well as the expected economic impact of both. We also know that the team has a broad plan for using a new ballpark–with a healthy public contribution–to generate additional development a la the Battery in Atlanta. It’s a game plan that worked in Cobb County and was the one used by the Oakland A’s for a new Howard Terminal plan until the last-minute move to Las Vegas.

All this we knew, and it’s all confirmed in the open letter. What’s new: a commitment to taking the next month to review both locations, followed by a decision in late September.

Here’s the letter:

To our dedicated Royals Fans and the Kansas City Community:

Last Monday night, I pulled into The K for our game against the Detroit Tigers. As I watched fans excitedly picking up their Bo Jackson bobbleheads, a man came over to me in the parking lot. “I’d like to introduce you to someone,” he said. “This is Nancy Howser, Dick’s widow.” Many of you remember our Royals manager Dick Howser, who died at age 51 just one year after leading the team to their first World Series championship in 1985. Some 38 years later, I had the unexpected privilege of greeting his wife — who has remained in Kansas City almost four decades later — as she returned to The K for a game.

I was struck by the moment. My very first World Series game was the historic Game 6 in 1985, managed by her husband Dick. Standing there in the parking lot, the history, the legacy, and the passion that connects generations of those of us who love the Royals all seemed to collide.

It’s that same passion that also makes us eager to know what lies ahead, and to know what the future holds for this storied franchise. I know we’re not at all where we want to be on the field; I’m here every night, and I feel that pain alongside our team, our fans, and our community. And I get that it isn’t going to feel better until it gets better. But rest assured that we’re intensely committed to restoring the Royals to their rightful place in Major League Baseball, and we will do what’s necessary to see that through. We’re just getting started here.

We’re a region with generational moments ahead of us, a region that is actively building its future. The Royals are gratified to share that journey with our partners of 55 years, the Kansas City Chiefs, as both of our great franchises continually work to lift up our region and its growth. We have a new KCI airport terminal, an expanding streetcar line, and just hosted the NFL Draft, all while World Cup preparation and the KC Current’s new stadium are both well underway. We want to help drive that momentum.

Many of you have expressed that you would like to hear more information on our new ballpark district vision. In the next 30 days, we plan to share an overview of the ballpark district, including the broad benefits of the two sites under consideration — one in Jackson County and one in Clay County. We are putting both sites through an equally rigorous process. We look forward to unveiling detailed renderings and many other components that will help us compare the broad benefits of both sites.

We will create a world-class ballpark that keeps pace with our peers nationwide, brings to Kansas Citians a dynamic and energized ballpark experience, and is woven into the fabric of our region. Anchored by the new ballpark, the construction project alone is expected to generate over 20,000 jobs, $1.4 billion in labor income and $2.8 billion in total economic output from construction and labor income during the 3-plus years it will take to build it. This project will be a huge economic boost for the region. It will spur meaningful development around the ballpark and adjacent neighborhoods, both in the short and long-term. We anticipate that the inaugural year of the new ballpark is expected to generate some $185 million more in regional economic output than The K does today.

The Royals ownership group will commit well in excess of $1 billion in private investment to help create transformational growth here and across the region, dramatically enhanced game day experiences, and more visitors who will generate much more spending throughout our hometown.

We are committed to doing this right. This is a huge decision for us. We’re focused on playing the long game for the region we call home. In late September, we plan to announce which site will best fulfill our pledge to Kansas City to create 1) powerful community impact, 2) generate sustainable economic activity in the county, city, and state, and 3) greater opportunity for the citizens of our region.

And finally, please know we’re listening. We hear you. I look forward to the chance to keep talking with so many of you at The K, in the grocery check-out line, at the gas station, or around town. While these can be dynamic conversations, one thing clearly breaks through: your passion for the Kansas City Royals and the city we all love. Please, keep coming up and extending your hand. It means a lot.

I look forward to staying in touch, and working together to achieve something special that changes the face of our region for the better.

Very sincerely,

John Sherman

Rendering courtesy Kansas City Royals.

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