In case you’ve been holding your breath waiting to see if the Kansas City, Kansas council would approve the Wizards‘ already-in-the-works stadium plan, it did so on Tuesday. The team, wasting no time, immediately broke ground yesterday on the project, which is to include an 18,000-seat soccer-only stadium to be ready for the 2012 season.
MLSnet, the soccer league’s web arm, reports:
The economic impact of the development was the most talked-about issue during the course of the board’s meeting. Every speaking member praised the impact the project would have on Wyandotte County, in terms of both money and job creation.
Between the stadium, offices, and field complex, OnGoal, LLC’s development is expected to create over 8,000 new jobs in the Wyandotte County area, with a total economic impact of over $500 million annually.
Ignore the “economic impact” numbers, which are meaningless, and focus on the job figures: With the public set to provide $147 million in sales tax rebates for the overall project, that’d come to under $20,000 per new job created, which is actually pretty reasonable as economic development projects go. The big question, of course, is whether all 8,000 jobs (most of which presumably wouldn’t be Wizards-related) would really be “new,” or if some of them would have located elsewhere in Wyandotte County without the subsidy. And there’s also the question of whether the county could do just as well by spending its sales tax money on something else — especially given the recent findings that the most effective job creation measure may be giving money to the unemployed.