KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Officials held a public hearing on their proposed downtown stadium and entertainment district Tuesday night.
The price tag for that new ballpark is projected at two billion dollars.
Royals Chairman and CEO John Sherman says the project would bring thousands of jobs to the metro and millions in economic support, but not everyone is on board.
“All it’s gonna be is a playground for the wealthy and the tourists,” Denise Brown, leader with KC Tenants Power said.
Brown believes the Royals’ stadium is fine where it is and that a move downtown will displace the poor and working class, especially on the north and east side of Kansas City.
“We want to build a stadium here in the city, but yet the prices of homes are going up and people can’t afford housing,” Brown said. “That should be the priority.”
Brown says the city doesn’t need another entertainment district downtown and that the Royals should upgrade their current stadium.
Meanwhile, leaders with the Union group Stand Up KC say they see the potential benefits of the move.
“We imagine coming onto these jobs on the first day and hearing that you have the right to unionize, you’ll be making a living wage,” Wise said. “You know this will be a fair job, a good job.”
Wise said some people in the city are struggling with poverty wages with no benefits, and families are barely making ends meet with the current economy; if a project like this will be partially funded by public tax dollars, Wise wants workers like himself to have a say when it comes to the move.
He says that will ensure the poor and working class can also benefit from the development.
“We want real concrete things that are gonna change lives in Kansas City,” Wise said. “Cause when I wake up in the morning every morning on the news, people are being killed, we have a homeless problem, and this project needs to address some of those problems and not add to them.”
Sherman touched on some of the concerns from both groups last fall when he first talked about the potential move.
“We need to have a positive impact in the quality of life for our citizens in KC with a particular focus on those underrepresented parts of our community,” Sherman said.
The lease for Kauffman Stadium with Jackson County ends in 2030. Sherman said Tuesday’s meeting is just one of the public forums the Royals will have seeking the community’s input.
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