Business, community leaders weigh in on Chiefs, Royals stadium plans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was standing room only in the legislative chambers of the Jackson County Courthouse on Monday afternoon.

At the beginning of the meeting, FOX4 counted 19 people that spoke on the new Royals stadium that could go in the East Crossroads.

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Each speaker was given two minutes. Ten of those people did not support the ballpark going directly south of the T-Mobile Center, from Truman Road on the north, to 17th Street on the south, Grand on the west to Locust on the east.

Largely, those who own businesses in the footprint of that proposed stadium and people who don’t own their building are opposed to the Royals moving there.

“Up to 60 small businesses stand to be impacted. Mine’s in the demolition zone, 27 are in the demolition zone, 27 businesses,” Chartreuse Saloon owner Jill Cockson said to the legislature.

“Up to 40 more are in the negative impact zone, so the fact that we are even discussing this is disgusting. It needs to go in the East Village, where there is only one building that would need to be displaced. It’s a Commerce Bank.”

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Some who own businesses outside the actual footprint are opposed to the stadium as well.

“Without assistance in relocating my business, this is likely going to put us out of business due to real and perceived access issues, parking and just game day traffic in general,” Dance Fit Flow cofounder Kerri Pomerenke said to the legislature.

Sean O’Byrne, vice president and executive director of community improvement districts with the Downtown Council, tried to answer that concern about parking when he spoke.

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“Think about the T-Mobile Center, one of the best across the nation, [an] 18,000-seat arena [that’s] continually sold out,” O’Byrne said to the legislature. “That arena was built with 30 parking spaces, but yet it continues to sell out.”

Before the meeting took place, Chiefs President Mark Donovan and Royals President of Business Operations Brooks Sherman took questions from reporters at Union Station.

Sherman said his team wants to be good neighbors if the Royals end up building in the East Crossroads.

“That means a lot to us, and we will hold our word on that,” Sherman said about being a good neighbor.

“From the standpoint of helping any tenant that’s displaced here, that will be, that we’ll help them move. We’ll make up for any tenant improvements that they may have put in themselves. We’ll make sure that all of those things are covered in our discussions with them.”

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If Jackson County voters say yes April 2, sales tax money will continue going to both the Chiefs and the Royals. The Chiefs will use their half of the money to help renovate GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Royals will use their half to help build their new ballpark in the East Crossroads. Absentee voting with an excuse has already started in Jackson County. No excuse absentee voting starts two weeks before the April 2 election, Tuesday, March 19.

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