Archive for Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Voters split on stadium upgrades

April 5, 2006


— Jackson County voters approved a sales tax measure Tuesday that makes sure the Chiefs and Royals will stay in Kansas City another 25 years, but turned thumbs down on a separate business tax that would have put a rolling roof over both stadiums.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting outside Kansas City and 98 percent reporting in the Jackson County portion of the city itself, the three-eighth-cent sales tax passed with 53 percent of the vote, 74,800 votes to 65,718. The tax will raise $425 million over 25 years to extensively refurbish and renovate Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums.

A $200 million plan to install a rolling roof at the Truman Sports Complex failed with 48 percent. There were 72,076 "no" votes to 67,908 votes for the proposal.

Owners David Glass of the Royals and Lamar Hunt of the Chiefs both hailed the passage of the first proposal as a big victory. It was the one that had to pass to lock in the teams for another 25-year lease.

But Hunt said he was not ready to give up on the rolling roof that he first envisioned when the stadiums were built in the early 1970s. The NFL has promised the 2015 Super Bowl to Kansas City if the roof is put up.

"Naturally, I would hope the dream of the rolling roof and the Super Bowl for Kansas City can be kept alive," Hunt said.

Glass said he would be eager to bring the roof back to the ballot in August. A decision will need to be made quickly so architectural designs can be made for the extensive renovations.

"This is a wonderful day for the Royals, the Chiefs and Jackson County," said Glass, who is also putting in $25 million of his own money. "I think the plan would be to bring the rolling roof back."

Craig Davis, who put together a political action committee against both proposals, called Tuesday's results a partial victory.

"If you look at it from afar, everybody's going to say, 'We got a little bit,' and move on," Davis said. "We're all Kansas Citians here."

Another opponent of the proposals said he was encouraged by the results.

"The opposition was heard from," said Richard Tolbert, a businessman and Democratic candidate for Jackson County executive. "I think it's important that both sides be heard."

Still, Tolbert said, "I thought we were going to whip 'em, but we'll settle for a quarter of a loaf. I can't say we got a half, but I would say we're mindful of the limits to which the taxpayer can be burdened for things that are not essential government functions."

With an additional $25 million from Glass and $75 million from Hunt, the money will go toward badly needed repair of infrastructure such as wiring and plumbing, widening concourses at the stadiums, and will add rest rooms, restaurants and halls of fame for each team.

The votes are in

53% Approved renovations at Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums

48% Defeated business tax to pay for a rolling roof at Truman Sports Complex

The money also will pay for a pavilion behind Kauffman Stadium, where baseball's Kansas City Royals play.

The rolling roof would have moved between the two stadiums, providing climate control.

The NFL had said Kansas City would get the Super Bowl in 2015 if voters approved the rolling roof, and baseball had also promised the city an All-Star Game sometime after 2010 if both measures are approved.

Supporters argued that passing both questions was the only way to guarantee Kansas City's sports future, while opponents said the teams' owners should not be asking for so much public money.

"I think athletics makes higher profits than almost any other industry," said Joyce Merrill, of Kansas City, who voted against both measures. "We don't subsidize anybody else to help them build facilities to help them make more money."

Had the sales tax measure failed, Jackson County would have gone into default on its lease with the teams on Jan. 1, 2007, and the Royals and Chiefs would be free to seek new homes elsewhere. Neither team has said it would move if the measures failed, but neither has promised to stay.


jayhawk2000 12 years, 1 month ago

I can understand with most football being played in the fickle autumn and winter months why Arrowhead could use a roof, but the 'roving roof' scheme looked too complicated and would've been of no real use to Kauffman.

Maybe now they can think of a more practical and less expensive solution to landing the Super Bowl, if that's such a hot priority.

doc1 12 years, 1 month ago

No rollling roof but we get some stuff fixed. Thats about normal for KC. All the nice stuff goes to other big cities that are willing to spend a little. KC is a slum and always will be thanks to that close minded approach. KC needs some sort of a landmark to show it's not behind the times.

craigers 12 years, 1 month ago

More than Jackson county should have to pay for these renovations though. I think that is why the rolling roofs failed.

bankboy119 12 years, 1 month ago

See I think the problem was the roof was going to go over both stadiums. I wish the Royals would leave. They don't need a roof. Superbowl would have been nice.

jfgibson 12 years, 1 month ago

I agree with original Bob. I have also been to baseball games in domes. It kind of ruins the experience of being outside at a baseball game. It would be nice for rain days, but for that much money it doesn't seem worth it. I am also one of those crazy people who loves tailgating and going to a Cheifs game whatever the weather. Again I think it kind of ruins the experience of going to a game. That's the beauty of football, you can play in rain, snow, and sun!

jfgibson 12 years, 1 month ago

Maybe instead of a rolling roof they should look at building up the area around the stadiums. There isn't much there now except a BP, Taco Bell, Holiday Inn, Drury Inn, and a Clairmont Hotel. They need more restaraunts and maybe a small walmart or something for last minute tailgating supplies.

Fatty_McButterpants 12 years, 1 month ago

Maybe the billionaire owners should try pitching in a little more money if they want a rolling roof so badly. Other teams put in about 40-50% of the costs for upgrades, etc. Our guys put in 25%. That's pathetic.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 12 years, 1 month ago

Kansas City chooses not to be a world-class city. Downtown is dead after 6pm because there is nothing to bring people there. The football and baseball stadiums should be downtown, rather than in the sticks. Doing so would bring more hotels, restaurants and jobs to the area. Kansas City had the opportunity for a Frank Gehry-designed arena but turned it down in favor of a generic cookie-cutter arena instead. Sad. Anyone who thinks it's worth spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a poorly placed football stadium is bananas.

bankboy119 12 years, 1 month ago

KFACH, with the completion of the H&R Block building they will be adding more hotels, restaurants and bars. I don't want the Chiefs downtown, they needed to go to Wyandotte. The Royals should be moved downtown.

Andie_01 12 years, 1 month ago

Does anybody else think that if that kind of money is going to be spent it should be spent on something like increased teacher salaries and repairs to schools, or better roads--something that will really make a difference. I understand that the stadiums and teams have a big economic impact to Kansas City, but will the increased revenue that will supposedly be brought in sometime in the future from having better facilities (and maybe a rolling roof) really be invested back in the community where it's needed or will it end up in a professional athlete's already fatly lined pockets? Just a thought.

nefball1031 12 years, 1 month ago

the reason the rolling roof failed is because the ad campaigns didn't do enough to get to the voters that the money for hte rolling roof was coming from CORPORATE TAXES. not sales tax. residents weren't going to pay for hte rolling roof. and if you've seen the videos of the conceputal design of the rolling roof. it doesn't actually enclose kauffman. it covers the field. they'd have to build a huge wall behind hte big scoreboard to completely enclose it.

also about the pitching in money....

when teams pitch in 40-50 percent of hte costs, that's when they're building a completely new stadium. they're just doing renovations. new stadiums cost waaay more than these renovations. in NY, the new stadium the jets and giants want to build is goign to cost over a billion dollars.

but seriously, 3/8 of a cent increase. they said each taxpayer in the county would be spending only $20 more a year.

nefball1031 12 years, 1 month ago

to Andie,

if they didn't do it, then KC would lose a whole lot of money. It's not like only people who go to chiefs and royals games are people in jackson county. They estimated that a third of the taxes made in jackson county, are from people outside the county. The chiefs bring in millions of dollars a game to the kc area. if they lost the chiefs, KC would have absolutely nothing going for it.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.