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Jackson County Sports Complex Authority: 'We are all waiting'

Royals target late September for ballpark site announcement
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Posted at 6:39 PM, Aug 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-29 19:36:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Jackson County Legislature and Jackson County Sports Complex Authority made it clear in Monday’s committee meeting the two want the Royals to stay in Jackson County.

One of the team's final two sites for consideration is the East Village.

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Renderings of what a new ballpark would look like at the potential East Village site.

“I mean, it’s their prerogative, it’s their right to do their due diligence, so I don’t think that’s an issue,” said Jim Rowland, executive director for the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority. "But I think it is somewhat silly to suggest that no one is waiting on us. Clearly, we are all waiting.”

The Royals' current lease keeps the team at the Truman Sports Complex until 2031.

“It’s a 50-year partnership that has been beneficial and fantastic for our community. We’ve been through the ups and the downs, and we anxiously await,” Rowland said after a closed session meeting with county legislators.

During a brief public presentation, the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority said the lease negotiation timeline wasn't a concern. But with an anticipated late September site announcement, getting a lease agreement inked by January for an April ballot item is tight.

When KSHB 41's Abby Dodge asked why there is a push for a ballot item in April 2024, Rowland said any movement forward is driven by the Royals. He also said there is “nothing absolute about April.”

Also of note at Monday’s meeting, the county assigned a resolution to the budget committee that would hire an external law firm to oversee contracts with the Chiefs and Royals to help with upcoming agreement negotiations.

The Royals sent the following statement to KSHB 41 on the matter:

We made a proposal to our current long-term partner Jackson County for a new stadium lease two months ago in the form of a detailed term sheet. We also made it clear that their response to our proposal’s major terms is important to our site evaluation process. We have received no material response to date. “We were surprised by the Sports Complex Authority Executive Director’s recent public statements. We stand ready to sit down at the table to negotiate in good faith. Our urgency has been consistent with both Jackson and Clay Counties. We are anxious to get this important regional project advanced on behalf of our major sports franchises, our fans, and the community.
Sam Mellinger, vice president of communications for the Royals