TKC Reader Pens EPIC Open Letter To Kansas City Royals Honcho

Tonight we share what might be the VERY BEST note we've ever seen on a local inevitability. 

Special thanks to the SMARTEST READERS amongst our blog community . . .


Even better . . . There's a proposal for solutions . . . Here's the word . . .

An Open Letter to John Sherman

Dear Mr. Sherman,

Thank you for your open letter to fans and the community in late July. And thank you for your commitment to Kansas City and the region to keep Major League Baseball here.

Where exactly “here” becomes, is the point of this letter.

You have announced that there are two finalists for a new ballpark: East Village and North Kansas City. Cynics might say, perhaps with some justification, that the NKC site is merely a negotiation gambit. Given that both the City of Kansas City and Jackson County’s negotiation style can be summarized as a race to drop their pants for developers, it makes sense.

There was a time not that long ago when the local news media would have asked you questions about this instead of merely reprinting your letter. You know, journalism. So in their absence, some questions for you:

Forgetting the poor accessibility, minimal community impact, and other issues with the NKC site, is it even a viable construction site? 

Have you done geo-tech work to confirm that the subsurface geologic conditions can support a stadium? Have you ever asked why there are no tall/heavy buildings in NKC. During the 1993 summer flood, there were transportation restrictions in NKC due to rising groundwater and unstable ground conditions. 

NKC is built on thousands of years of river sediment and underground river channels. Before asking the people of NKC and Clay Country to help build a ballpark, they would likely appreciate some assurances that it’s not going to sink into the ground on Opening Day.

Another reason there are no tall buildings could be the downtown airport. Your proposed site appears to be directly in line with runway 3/21. Has the FAA signed off on this location? Given that the City of Kansas City, who does not want the stadium in NKC, owns the runway that would likely have to go away, you might have an issue here.

Since you may need a new alternative site anyway, I would like to propose a third site for your consideration - one that is superior in several ways to both of the current “finalists.”

18th and Paseo at the current site of the KCATA bus barns. Let’s call it the Buck O’Neil Site. Apart from being free of geological and aviation interference issues, here are just a few positive considerations:

- A transformational location. A ballpark village here would remove the barrier to the eastward development of the Crossroads and would connect the Crossroads to the 18th and Vine district and give that district the shot it needs for long-term viability.

- The bus barn should move to the already industrial NKC site.

- A ballpark village on 18th street would incorporate the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and MLB Urban Youth Academy making the multi-block baseball complex a national baseball heritage site and a fitting tribute to Buck O’Neil’s commitment to baseball in Kansas City.

- The accessibility with the Paseo connecting to I-49 on the south, I-35 on the north and I-70 crossing merely blocks to the north is by far the best of the three sites. The East Village site is too close to the highway resulting in traffic congestion and likely ending any discussion of removing the north loop.

- There is much more available land for redevelopment surrounding the Buck O’Neil site without being divided by a freeway. In fact, one can envision redevelopment all along the historic Paseo route between the two freeways, and all along Truman Road and 18th street east to I-70. Yes, one can even see a couple of streetcar spur lines.

- In addition to better accessibility for Royals fans attending games, this site affords better mass transit accessibility for those working at the stadium and in the surrounding entertainment venues.

- There is no question that the Buck O’Neil site is not only the best site for a downtown ballpark in general, it is also the most beneficial and transformational for the community and Kansas City. If long-term community transformation and improvement is truly what you want to accomplish as the legacy of this project, then the Buck O’Neil site has to be part of the ongoing conversation.

The only apparent drawback to this site, the ONLY one that falls short, is that the land hasn’t yet been gobbled up by the same influential developers already waiting to make bank at the other two locations. Of course, this will be quickly remedied as soon as you announce that it is being considered.

Thank you again for your letter and commitment to the future of Kansas City.


A Royals Fan Since 1969


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