Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chalco Ballpark Estimate Comes In High

Coincedence? The study for a proposed Sarpy County ballpark is in...and as expected, it comes in a lot higher than Sarpy County officials predicted. The authors of the study, Convention Sports and Leisure, say that a new stadium (7,000 seats) will cost $41.3 million to build once land is acquired and prepared. I'm not sure what that all entails, so for working purposes, count on $45 to $50 million as the total cost of spiting the city of Omaha.

How would Sarpy County pay for this stadium? The study makes several recommendations which, frankly, don't look practical. Some proposals would require changes in state law, a process which has been already been rejected in previous years for Cabela's and the original downtown stadium for the Royals. The other suggestion: increasing property taxes.

Does this kill the idea of a Chalco stadium? Hardly. Sarpy County administrators seem unfazed by this development. In fact, county attorney Lee Polikov found the report "encouraging" for some reason. (That seems to suggest he thought the report was going to come in even higher than it did.) Perhaps they've already got committments from someone to donate a large portion of the funds necessary to build a stadium. That's how the new downtown stadium came to be. Or perhaps folks in heavily Republican Sarpy County don't care about taxes. Or maybe Santa or the Tooth Fairy will come through. You just never know.

Hopefully what this does is reopen the lines of communication between MECA and the Omaha Royals to get both organizations to reconsider their earlier positions and compromise to keep the Royals in the Omaha area. The consultants even note that it would be extremely unusual for a metropolitan area like Omaha to build two new stadiums:
"Markets similar in size to Omaha are rarely home to two modern, relatively large ballparks, as will be the case if separate venues are constructed in downtown Omaha and Sarpy County. This situation could present unique competitive dynamics between the two facilities."
Of course, "competitive dynamics" seems to be the driving factor in this debate as the report also investigated the cost of building a stadium for an independent or class A franchise. Gee...imagine that... Sarpy County might still pursue a stadium even if the Royals weren't interested.


AJ said...

A ball or indy league ball will not work here. There's now flippin way. Why you don't give Stein credit for at least trying is puzzling to me. This guy is from out of town, and doesn't give a damn about Omaha. He could leave in 2 seconds. At least he's entertaining offers to stay in town.

Then again..when your cronies get into office, my taxes will be so high anyway, I won't be able to go it's a moot point.


Husker Mike said...

My only criticism of Stein is that he hasn't been willing to negotiate with MECA. (The flak over parking is stupid and you know it too...) My criticism is at Sarpy county, which is giving Stein an out with making a serious deal with MECA, who then will be pleading with the state to bail them out.

Mark said...

How is parking not a problem. Sure $6 is no big deal for a single event, but if you are a season ticket holder or a regular you will be getting hammered with the cost. You have to remember this is a 72 event season, that will add up.

Husker Mike said...

$5 to $6 is the going rate for parking in Indianapolis, Des Moines, and Oklahoma City. (All AAA/PCL teams)