For Now, Oakland Moves Forward With Ballpark Plan
Numerous reservations were voiced from all parties involved, but Oakland City Council voted to accept an amended financial terms sheet that advances negotiations for a new athletics stadium.
Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, in which terms were set for a $ 12 billion redevelopment project of the city’s Howard Terminal area that would include a state-of-the-art baseball stadium, the team made it clear that a vote not seal fate, forcing to leave the city where it has been played for more than 50 years.
Council members, several of whom expressed their distaste for the draft being negotiated in the media, responded by voting in favor of the list of terms, 6-1, with one abstention.
Whatever the final margin, deep reservations were expressed on both sides as to the viability of the project.
City Councilor Dan Kalb said he would “stopper my nose” and vote yes. Nikki Fortunato Bas, the president of the council, stressed that the agreement was only a “road map for the continuation of the negotiations”. And Councilor Carroll Fife said she did not understand what members were voting for, based on comments from Dave Kaval, the president of Athletics, who indicated the team would likely not approve the amendments. added before the vote.
“It looks like we are voting on something the A’s are going to refuse,” she said.
Kaval, who attended the meeting, said the changes, which require affordable housing, tenant protections and anti-displacement and environmental measures to be added to the plan, surprised him.
“Voting on something that we weren’t really aware of or had time to digest is a really tough thing for us,” Kaval said. “It’s hard to understand why this is a way forward. “
After the vote, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf released a joint statement with Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and Bas celebrating the decision.
“Today’s vote by city council marks an important milestone in our mission to keep the A’s rooted in Oakland and build a world-class waterfront baseball stadium neighborhood that will benefit the community for generations to come, ”the statement read.
While Tuesday’s vote moves the process forward, no final votes on the project can be taken until an environmental impact report is ready for approval later this year.
The Athletics, which have a lease at Oakland Coliseum that expires in 2024, moved to the city in 1968 and their once-modern facility is now the majors’ fifth-oldest active park behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium. .
After several unsuccessful attempts over the years to build a new park in Oakland, and after a South Bay move plan was blocked by the San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball has publicly expressed its support for the team moving to a new city should this latest proposal fail.
While the Las Vegas metropolitan area is seen as the main competitor in luring A’s away from Oakland, several other markets would likely be looking to attract the team.
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