After stadium vote flop, let’s think bigger for Royals and Chiefs

Tear down both stadiums. Build a new Royals ballpark on the site of The K and add a roof. Kansas should offer the Chiefs a state-of-the-art stadium, including a roof.

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Columnists

April 11, 2024 - 3:04 PM

Kauffman stadium needs a do-over. (Jamie Squire/2020 Getty Images/TNS)

Two points were obvious from the Jackson County vote last week not to approve public funding for a new Crossroads ballpark for the Kansas City Royals and upgrades to Arrowhead Stadium for the Chiefs: 

• Eastern Jackson County is unequivocally opposed to moving the baseball team from the beloved Kauffman Stadium, particularly to anywhere near downtown. That would result in poorer accessibility, parking, walking, tailgating — you name it. 

•A 40-year extension of the sales tax wouldn’t begin to complete the plans of the two teams. Any future vote is doomed to failure for the same reasons.

Jackson Countians should focus on making the Truman Sports Complex great for one team and accept the loss of the Chiefs across the state line. Better to keep 80 games than 10. Most county residents can’t afford to attend a game and pay for parking. If you’re watching the Chiefs on TV, who cares where they are playing? 

Kansas rightfully recognizes that attracting the Chiefs to move there would do wonders to improve the image of the state and create an economic windfall. So why not think big?

Kansas should offer: 

• A site adjacent to two interstates, with access as good or better than Arrowhead. 

• A replacement football stadium with all the amenities of Arrowhead, but embellished to be state-of-the-art. 

• A roof that opens and closes, as was originally promised when the Truman Sports Complex was proposed. 

• Parking and tailgating opportunities superior to Arrowhead’s. 

Jackson County, with only one team to support, could then make the Royals’ stadium even better.

Tear down both stadiums. Build a new Royals ballpark on the site of The K, keeping all of the amenities that our fans love, but improving over the existing Kauffman Stadium by adding a roof capable of being opened — no more rain delays or postponements. 

Then, add a streetcar line from the abandoned railroad tracks already in the sports complex linking to 39th and Main streets. The downtown, Country Club Plaza and Crown Center hotels would be a short commuter ride to the stadium. 

Jackson County voters were clear that they had no appetite for the plans proposed. It’s equally clear that both teams are dissatisfied with their current facilities. It’s time for some bold new ideas that would benefit everyone in the Kansas City metropolitan area and keep the Royals and the Chiefs playing here for generations to come. 

About the author: Dick Davis is a former Kansas City Council member and general manager of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority from 1977 to 2000.

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