Jackson County Politicians May Not Be Behind Royals Move Downtown
Four States Homepage website is reporting at least one Jackson County politician has come out against the Kansas City Royals plan to relocate away from Kauffman Stadium.
This makes me think, perhaps, the team is going to run into static from politicians that can have a pretty big impact on what public money the team uses to move to supposedly greener pastures.
As someone who's gone on record opposing a new Royals ballpark, I'm glad to see some lawmakers starting to question whether the Royals need a new ball mall and entertainment district somewhere else in Kansas City. (You can read my thoughts on this here "Do The Royals Need A Downtown Kansas City Ballpark?" and "Here's What You Think About The Royals Playing In Downtown KC".)
So here's the dirt Four States Homepage dug up. They found that Jackson County Legislator Jalen Anderson, who is starting another term next week, wouldn't support the teams asking for an extension of the sales tax to fund improvements at the Truman Sports Complex if the stadiums are moving out of the complex. He also wouldn't personally vote for it either.
Four States reports that Anderson, who lives in Blue Springs believes if the County is going to invest in anything, the area around the stadiums is a good place to continue to invest because the cities of Raytown, Kansas City, and Independence all buffer up to the stadiums. He also believes the team really needs to understand Jackson County has bills to pay associated with the new jail, the downtown courthouse, and the new administrative building.
Outgoing Jackson County Legislator Scott Burnett of Kansas City isn't running for re-election, however, he told Four States he told Royals owner John Sherman he didn't want the Royals downtown either. He explained to Sherman how he could get to a game in twenty minutes where the team is now. However, he felt the Royals had already made up their mind to move.
What this tells me is, it's not going to be a slam dunk for the Royals to build their ball mall and another new entertainment district around it if Sherman wants Jackson County taxpayers to pay for parts of it. Of course, even if most Jackson County politicians decide The Royals should stay at Kauffman or build their new ballpark and ball mall at the Truman Sports Complex. That doesn't mean that's how it'll work out.
I'd expect it to get ugly and become a public relations game of cat and mouse as County politicians take the side of being good stewards of the public's money, while the Royals make the case that their 50-year-old ballpark is bad for business and has reached the end of its useful life. There might even be threats of the team moving across state lines to Kansas. All to get Jackson County Royals fans to pony up their "fair share" of Sherman's ball mall.
One thing is for sure, it'll be fun to watch the drama unfold in the years to come. You might even want to get some popcorn. It's going to be good.
The Royals announced their intention to move on from Kauffman Stadium in an open letter from Royals owner John Sherman in mid-November. You can read that story here.