NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Clay County leaders continue talking about a new Kansas City Royals stadium going in their county as opposed to Jackson County.
Clay County Western Commissioner Scott Wagner signed off on a letter that went public Friday.
The challenge for his county and Jackson County leaders isn’t just getting their commissions or legislatures to support a sales tax effort to go on a ballot, but then the voters of their county would actually have to approve it.
Wagner said the commission could possibly put a sales tax to support a new Royals stadium on Clay County’s November ballot.
“We have been asked if that is something that we would consider. The answer is yes we would, but we’re not going to do something speculatively,” Wagner said.
“We’re not going to just hope that this number works only to find out later that it’s not, so in order for that to happen, we would honestly have to know what is being asked for by August in order to put it on a November ballot, which we’ve communicated. That is the sort of time frame that we would have to be under.”
In March, FOX4 told you the county was considering a 1/2-cent sales tax to try to get the Royals to move up north.
“Well quite honestly, the answer is unknown,” Wagner said when asked if the county was considering a 1/2-cent sales tax or a 3/4-cent sales tax. “That’s part of the reason why we wanted to put out this letter to suggest that we’re interested, but we’ve got to talk right?”
The Royals would like not only a ballpark but an entertainment district surrounding their new stadium. The entertainment district would be completely privately financed, team leaders said, and would not need the sales tax funding.
“Having enough of that acreage that is contiguous together under one ownership becomes important if you want to be able to do both of those things,” said Wagner, talking about the Merriman family, who bought the old AMF Bowling Alley near 18th Avenue and Fayette Street.
Chappell’s Restaurant and Sports Museum founder Jim Chappell thinks the Merriman family has worked out any concerns about moving the team from Jackson County into Clay County.
“They’re not going to put that kind of money into something unless they’ve got the problems worked out,” Chappell said in an interview with FOX4 Monday.
Chappell’s Restaurant is a five-minute walk from the proposed stadium in the city. He thinks the Northland has a shot at getting the Royals because of the Merriman family.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a problem,” Chappell continued. “They own more land than they need. It takes 14 and a half acres. They’ve got almost 100 acres, so they’re going to do more than just a stadium.”
Wagner indicated he does not believe the Royals will go to the voters in either jurisdiction, Clay or Jackson, more than once. He also wanted a clear commitment from the Royals before he put an item up for all Clay County residents to vote on, whether that’s in November 2023 or April 2024.
The Royals have also been considering a site in downtown Kansas City where team owner John Sherman said the most work has been done, not the one in North Kansas City.
Sherman also said demolition that’s happened at that site in the East Village and the North Kansas City site this year does not have to do with the team.