The push for a new downtown Kansas City Royals stadium that nobody actually seems to be pushing for except maybe downtown business interests has reached the “ask the mayor what he’s going to do” phase, and here’s what Mayor Quinton Lucas has to say:
A new downtown stadium could cost upwards of $700 million, and Kansas City taxpayers have already ponied up big tax incentives for other downtown development, Lucas said.
“They’re subsidizing on dead obligations, $13 million a year for the Power & Light District,” Lucas said. “We have to incentivize every parking garage that Cordage builds, and then connect with luxury housing. That’s about $20 million a pop.”
This is true! The Power & Light District, which has been touted as a model of downtown revitalization in pretty much every city where downtown interests are looking for revitalization, has also been a massive money suck as a result of $295 million in city bonds that were supposed to be paid off by new tax revenues that then didn’t materialize. So it’s perfectly reasonable for Mayor Lucas to respond fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Let’s see what else the mayor had to say, according to KMBZ radio:
Lucas has not totally ruled out the possibility of a downtown stadium. He says he’s willing to talk with the new owners about other financing options, such as a bi-state plan.
“I’d like to hear from the ownership group what type of money they’re putting in, and frankly from the the entire region, the type of investment that I think we’re going to make region wide,” Lucas said.
Oh, so actually Lucas is saying fool me twice, and I will send you to go fool the states of Missouri and Kansas, instead. This would make pretty much exactly zero sense for the states — any new economic activity in downtown K.C. is going to come at the expense of spending somewhere else in the bistate region, unless you really think lots more people are going to drive down to Royals games from Omaha if the stadium is downtown instead of out in the suburbs surrounded by giant parking lots — but makes tons of sense if you’re a city mayor looking to placate downtown business interests while pushing the costs off onto somebody else’s plate. This whole multiple levels of government thing may have more pitfalls than the strangely behatted ducks would have you believe.