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Kansas City Royals restrict downtown stadium sites

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals say they have narrowed 14 potential downtown stadium locations to four or five.

Brooks Sherman, the team’s chief operating officer, made the announcement during the Royals’ second listening session Tuesday about the proposed $2 billion project that would also include a surrounding precinct with retail, restaurants, hotels and apartments.

The Royals declined to comment further Tuesday on which sites were no longer being considered.

The team said surveys show 85 percent of fans want a more social and diverse baseball experience and renovating Kauffman Stadium would cost more than replacing it.

“I think it’s a good idea. I’ve been saying for several years that I think we need to move downtown to get a more casual crowd of baseball fans into the stadium,” said Royals fan Daniel Meyers.

“We want to create an environment that has safe and walkable neighborhoods. We want to live, work and play there,” said Royals chairman and chief executive officer John Sherman.

The Royals have said they will pay for an entire $1 billion district surrounding a new downtown stadium.

Pressed by fans Tuesday for how much they will put into the $1 billion stadium, they would only say it would be hundreds of millions of dollars, making it the largest public-private partnership in Kansas City history.

But it would also require extending the 3/8 cent sales tax now used to fund renovations to the Truman Sports Complex.

“I think John Sherman explained it very clearly. They all have to be there together, which I agree with,” said Carla Duryee.

HR&A projections say a new stadium will produce $185 million more annually in economic impact than “The K” currently does. A new ballpark district would generate an additional $500 million annually.

Stand Up KC, who was well represented at the meeting in red shirts, said there is more than dollars and cents to consider.

“All businesses in Kansas City and throughout the United States should have a moral responsibility to impact communities. Just going into a community and building new housing and not caring about those who barely have housing is a mistake,” said the Rev. Rodney Williams.

The royals have promised a community benefits deal to ease those concerns.

Other questions centered on conversations with Kansas City bosses and the city of Kansas City and why they’re not just building a district around the existing Truman Sports Complex. Sherman said that in more than 50 years, developers have never cared.

The Royals have one last listening session before the team leaves for Spring Training. It is scheduled for Wednesday at 5.30pm. It will take place at the Midwest Genealogy Center Community Hall, located at 3440 S. Lee’s Summit Road in Independence.

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