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The Crossroads Conflict: Two Sides to the New Proposed Kansas City Royals Stadium Location

The Kansas City Royals have been talking about a move downtown for about a year now, and with so little movement on the subject until very recently (within about the last 3-4 months) many, including myself, thought it was a mere pipe dream of owner John Sherman that would never see the light of day. Those doubts are all but put to rest now, at least the doubts of Sherman following through, with the new renderings of a stadium in downtown Kansas City being announced with renderings to boot. The stadium is set to be in the Crossroads District of Kansas City, a district widely known for the arts, and will sit between 18th and Vine and Power and Light districts.





A perfect location for a stadium that would be easy to walk to and from, a stadium that has bustling nightlife surrounding it, and a stadium that would be nestled downtown, a staple of many successful MLB ballparks. Not everything is peachy keen though, as we will soon see. Many find the location to be less than perfect and have brought on many complaints and potential issues that could arise should this stadium come to fruition. The vote for a sales tax to fund this stadium will not come until April, so the public still must decide whether or not they want this stadium, at least partially, on their dollar, which has led to a heated debate by Jackson County voters (the ones who will ultimately decide) and beyond on whether or not to fund this new stadium. Let's analyze both sides and come to a few conclusions...


The Case for the New Royals Location

Kauffman Stadium, otherwise known as The K, is a beautiful ballpark with modern amenities, plenty of parking, and a great ballpark atmosphere especially when the place is packed. However, if the Royals are trying to make it big as a baseball team, and with Kansas City's growing metropolitan area, they may want to shy away from sharing a parking lot with the best team in the NFL currently. Obviously, baseball and football are played in different seasons, and there are certainly some cities that have dual sports complexes, but the idea is slowly fading out of style. If the Royals want to modernize and keep up with the big market teams, change may be in order. Change that could see the Royals move closer to their main fanbase, move closer to creating a better out-of-ballpark atmosphere and have a state-of-the-art new stadium that will attract big spenders. Longtime Kansas City resident and former Lawrence business administrator Gene Meyer comments:


"(It's a) Good location close to P&L and will create a vibrant addition. Let's face it, it was going to be downtown and we have the best architectural firm in the world so we should trust the process."



Many defending the idea of moving the stadium to the Crossroads District subscribe to this. The eventuality of the stadium moving downtown was almost certain, and it would be good for Kansas City's economy and atmosphere to have the stadium so close to local businesses and nightlife. It will also be within walking distance of the heart of downtown, which many support the idea of a walkable city with new developments being catalyzed by the new stadium. Kansas City native and Royals fan Aaron Moore writes:


"Having the stadium plus the new developments around it will make the area more walkable and will hopefully get some more public transit options. I think the hope is that it becomes a St. Louis/Wrigley situation."


This comment brings up a solid point for this side: Some of America's best ballparks are right in the middle of their respective cities and offer a sort of "amusement park/monument" type of atmosphere. However, these stadiums are also older and have a lot more history behind them, so does that hope hold up for a new, modern stadium such as this one? We can certainly trust the process and see...





The Case Against the New Royals Location

There are indeed naysayers to this idea though, and plenty of them. Many had already not subscribed to the idea of a new downtown stadium as Kauffman Stadium, as its most recent renovations are not even a decade old, its iconic crown scoreboard was not featured in the renderings for the new stadium, the parking and tailgating situation is already optimal, and just overall, many don't see the need for a new stadium and needless spending, public or private. Current Kansas City resident and former teacher/school administrator Melissa DeDonder writes:


"It's terrible. No parking. No tailgating. All the things that are tradition in KC are gone. Kauffman was awesome and the location was wonderful. Traffic is going to be a nightmare."


This is something that I did not see those on the other side mention, getting to and from the stadium if you did not live or were within walking distance. Royals fandom exists much farther past the KC metro, and while The K is a decent ways away from many amenities, it's still relatively easy to drive to and the traffic isn't as bad as it would be if the stadium were downtown and people were coming to and from the stadium from outside. While sports broadcaster Bob Fescoe does mention in the above tweet that Kansas City has roughly 40,000 spots to park in around that area, those are general parking spots, while the parking spots around The K are dedicated spots for the Truman Sports Complex. As of now, the plan is to not add any more parking, which potentially could lead to problems.


Another point that sticks out for the side against the stadium is the fact that it is going to be in the Crossroads Arts District. The Crossroads has long since been known as the place to go for First Fridays, to see local Kansas City arts and media, and to enjoy many other cultural aspects of Kansas City life. It also has many affordable housing options that would potentially be at risk of teardown and/or relocation. Many feel that having the stadium in that area will cause small businesses to close, living situations to be put in jeopardy, and the culture to diminish in Kansas City. with merely the POTENTIAL for new business and housing to sprout up. This also does not spare long-established businesses such as RecordBar or the Cigar Box, which have been in that area for generations. TikTok user Olive comments:


"It's a horrible decision. Tearing down established small businesses that built themselves up. It's terrible."


This new stadium could have disastrous consequences if not done properly for Kansas City's small businesses, housing, and traffic continuity, and the risk outweighs the reward for many. However, new stadiums also have been known to promote economic growth, and saving as many small businesses and housing areas as possible could potentially be an agenda item for the Royals and Jackson County governance...time will tell.





Conclusions and My Final Observations

Whether or not the Royals move I think is a decision that has already been made. The Royals are going away from The K, that much I think is certain, however, this location still has a chance to be shut down by Jackson County voters. This is not final by any stretch, but depending on how this vote goes John Sherman could also determine the fate of the Royals. This could end up resulting in the Royals moving to Kansas, or something far worse, moving out of the area entirely, so voters and Kansas Citians need to tread carefully (for unfortunate, greedy reasons, such is the nature of sports team ownership...) in this situation. Sherman may be willing to compromise, and I do agree that the possibility of all but leveling the Crossroads breaks my heart as well as agree with the fact that traffic will likely only be made worse in the car-dependent culture we live in.




However, we almost have to pick Sherman's psychology here. Is he willing to be rational should this vote not go through, and will it truly be THAT bad to where it will cause these disastrous and harmful outcomes? Some signs point to no, some signs point to yes, but to the point of those in favor of the new stadium location, sometimes you just have to trust the process. I think that can be said for both sides really, you kind of just have to trust the voters of Jackson County to do the right thing in your eyes. They're the people DIRECTLY affected by this and will make a decision based on their thoughts and feelings toward the matter. I think the chance of losing the Royals is minimal, if at all existent, but given Sherman's...interesting decision-making since taking over the Royals in 2019, I don't think it's entirely impossible. Again, we'll let the Kansas City public decide what's best for them and their well-being, and go from there once the vote is cast...


Burn Notice: 10/10 MAN this was a long article. Thanks for reading!


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