NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals Chairman and CEO John Sherman spoke at length Thursday last week about where he wants to build a new ballpark for his team.
“We’ve been partners with Jackson County and we’ve been in Kansas City for 52 years,” Sherman said that day. “We value that relationship, and we want them to give us their best shot, and we’re going to give them our best shot to do it there.”
Earlier in June, the team confirmed they were down to two spots for where the team wants to build their new stadium and entertainment district. The Clay County site’s near 18th Avenue and Fayette in North Kansas City. The East Village site in Kansas City, Mo is just northeast of the 12th and Cherry intersection.
“I think we’ve caught up to the East Village,” Clay County’s Western Commissioner At-Large Jason Withington said in an interview with FOX4. “I wouldn’t be surprised if in a month or two, Clay County is picked to be the site for the Kansas City Royals.”
Sherman would like sales tax money to go to paying for the stadium. That would need the approval of the voters in either county.
In Jackson County, people are already paying a 3/8ths cent sales tax. Shoppers stop paying for that in 2031. That sales tax stops being collected when the leases for both the Chiefs and the Royals at the Truman Sports Complex are up.
The money generated from that goes to paying off the improvements that were made to both Kauffman and GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium when voters approved a sales tax for them in 2006.
“We were thinking more about April in Jackson County,” Sherman said when asked when they’d go to residents for a sales tax extension. “We really haven’t had the specific conversations with Clay about timing.”
That comment goes directly against what Clay County commissioners have said to FOX4 though.
“Every conversation that I’ve been a part of, November is an option, or is the option that we’ve been presented,” Withington said.
Withington’s talking about November of 2023, an earlier time period than April in Jackson County. Residents FOX4 talked to Tuesday seemed to support the sales tax.
“We pay taxes already for the zoo,” Gladstone, MO resident Ashley Donnelly said. “We get great benefits from the zoo here in town, and I think that it would be similar to that.”
“I think it’s scary. People get scared when you talk about sales tax,” Sail Away Wine on Armour Cook and Clay County resident Nick Womack said. “But I think if they can show how much money can be made, I think it could be worth it. I mean, would I? Yeah, if it’s going to bring money here. Sure. Why not?”
Withington says at first, he thought Clay County was just being played or used as a bargaining chip for the Royals to get what they want in Jackson County.
“When we first started hearing about this, you always hear about teams pitting cities and counties against each other,” he continued. “But over the last six months, or six weeks rather, I think with some of the things that we’ve been told, I think Clay County is really becoming probably the preferred site.”
Thursday, Sherman also said he’d like to tell fans which site he wants to build the new ballpark and entertainment district at by the end of the summer.