KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dreams of developing “Wrigleyville” in the Northland are leading to a war of words between Kansas City-area leaders.
North Kansas City Mayor Bryant DeLong tweeted what he called an open letter to the Kansas City community Friday. The letter is also signed by Clay County Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte and Clay County Western Commissioner Scott Wagner.
In the letter, the three Northland leaders said they’ve been in talks with the Kansas City Royals for months and hope the organization will build a new stadium in Clay County.
While there are no new agreements between the Royals and any city at this point, the Northland leaders said they want to develop the new stadium and ballpark district, according to the new letter.
The development is described to rival “Wrigleyville” in Chicago and include entertainment, commercial and residential options.
We think it is important that we communicate our efforts with the community, and the reason we plan to work with the Royals on behalf of our respective jurisdictions to select a North Kansas City site for the planned new stadium. Although no agreement has been reached by either Clay County or North Kansas City to take action on, we are striving to lay the groundwork necessary for a plan that is positive for the city, the county and our entire community.Letter excerpt from Jerry Nolte, Bryant DeLong, Scott Wagner
The three leaders said North Kansas City is the perfect place for the new development because it is so close to downtown Kansas City.
Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas disagrees and fired off his own tweets on the topic Friday afternoon.
Jackson County Executive, and Royals Hall of Famer, Frank White also weighed in on the controversy Friday afternoon.
Jackson County taxpayers have long supported our teams, ensuring first-class stadiums since 1973. Jackson County’s unwavering commitment is demonstrated this year with over $50 million allocated toward the Truman Sports Complex. Importantly, the Royals are contractually obligated to play at Kauffman Stadium, located in Jackson County, until at least 2031.
I echo the stance by Mayor Lucas: I refuse to participate in an intercounty bidding war that ultimately harms our residents. I will endorse a new downtown stadium only when I am convinced it serves the best interests of Jackson County residents.
My commitment to collaborating with Mayor Lucas, the City Council and County Legislature to determine justified public support remains firm. However, I won’t entertain this while the Royals attempt to pit local communities against each other. Our taxpayers deserve respect, transparency and loyalty.Frank White, Jackson County Executive
The three Clay County leaders say they will continue to talk with partners and the Royals as the organization works to decide where it will locate its anticipated new home.
A copy of the entire letter follows:
County leaders and a Royals spokesperson confirmed to FOX4 in March that the site of the old AMF Bowling Alley between 9 Highway and Interstate 35 is one of five areas the team is considering for a new ballpark.
The Royals released the following statement regarding the Northland letter:
The leaders of North Kansas City and Clay County have presented a progressive and creative vision for a new ballpark and ballpark district in North Kansas City, aligning with the Royals’ vision as we strive to make the best decision for Kansas City. The potential development and public-private partnership opportunity this presents is one we take seriously. In that process, we also continue to be actively engaged in discussions with Jackson County, the city of Kansas City, and the state of Missouri. We look forward to sharing more details about our ballpark district as we determine the best location for our fans, partners, and our community of fellow Kansas Citians.Kansas City Royals Statement
Two weeks ago, Royals CEO John Sherman indicated the Royals still hadn’t made any decisions about where they’ll put their new stadium.
Sherman also said he would like to see a sales tax extension for a new stadium on the ballot in the next year.