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KSHB 41's Kevin Holmes, Chiefs President Mark Donovan discuss stadium sales tax

Posted: 10:21 PM, Mar 12, 2024
Updated: 2024-03-12 23:21:48-04
Chiefs President Mark Donovan talks with Kevin Holmes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A multi-billion-dollar decision from voters could impact the Royals, the Chiefs and Jackson County for decades to come.

The April 2 ballot question asks voters to extend the 3/8-cent sales tax until the year 2064.

That amounts to 38 cents for every $100 residents spend in the county; it adds up to roughly $2 billion over the next 40 years.

The Chiefs will use the money for renovations at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, while the Royals hope to build a new ballpark district in the northeast corner of the Crossroads Arts District.

RELATED | Chiefs reveal plans, renderings for future of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs plan includes improvements to the upper concourse with a canopy, along with heating and fans.

A bridge will also be built to connect the upper concourse. There will be larger video boards.

And the Chiefs plan to add a parking deck and an event space in the area where Kauffman Stadium is right now. The team estimates these renovations will cost $800 million.

The Hunt Family will contribute $300 million of that. Work would not begin until 2027, after FIFA 2026 World Cup games are played at the stadium.

RELATED | Royals choose Crossroads District as location for proposed new ballpark, entertainment district

The team hopes to have those renovations complete for the 2030 or 2031 season.

Three weeks from the vote, Chiefs President Mark Donovan went one-on-one with KSHB 41 Anchor Kevin Holmes about the upcoming vote and proposed renovations to one of the NFL’s most historic stadiums.

Below is some of their conversation.

Holmes: "Why do you think there are so many people, especially business owners in the Crossroads opposed to this whole deal?

Donovan: “Change. Change is hard, and there’s a lot of information that needs to get out there. I’m in the discussions with the Royals and they are updating me on their discussions with the stakeholders within the Crossroads and the district downtown. We think downtown baseball is right for baseball. We think downtown baseball is the right thing for this town. I know the Royals believe that and I believe they are making significant progress there. And I think there will be some announcements coming up soon that are going to make people feel a little bit better about the commitment they are making to that area.”

Holmes: “On the drive into work, I’m listening to news radio, and there were callers that talked about, 'My property taxes just went up, and now the Royals and Chiefs want me to foot the bill or help foot the bill on their stadium that I have no ownership in.' What would you say to these callers, these residents, these fans?”

Donovan: “Important point there is, this is not a new tax. This is the same tax since the beginning, and that’s a really important point in face. We are giving back. Our ballot language is confusing. It is jut because of the way ordinances work. The way tax language works. It’s very simple. Vote yes, we extend the existing tax and we get to keep this great building.”

Donovan continued, “I think more information will ease more minds. I think it’s a fair question, and I think it’s fair to be confused right now. There’s a lot of noise out there in the marketplace. What we’re focused on is, we’re trying to make it simple. It’s really simple. This is a better deal. These are not new taxes, and we keep both teams.'

Holmes: “Could the Royals leave Kansas City?”

Donovan: “I can’t answer that for the Royals. I just know for us the Chiefs, we would just have to look at all our options.”

Holmes: “Do those options include leaving Kansas City, Missouri?”

Donovan: “I think they would have to include leaving Kansas City. But our goal here is, we want to stay here. And we’re willing to accept a deal for the county to actually stay here.”

The Chiefs president also gave KSHB 41 a detailed rundown of the renovations that would happen if voters approve the tax.

Donovan: “Number one, we can add some parking, so that’s a plus. Number two, it will be a part of our Rideshare Program. As Rideshare increases, as more people are doing it, we have to get more efficient on it. “

Pointing to the K, which will be demolished and turned into an activation zone.

Donovan: “This creates some space in and up on that hill that we can utilize now since we’re the sole tenant. Beyond that, imagine an activation zone that becomes a community area. So on non-Chiefs game days, it’s community available, fields, astroturf field to use for football. But also something that can be modulated enough to create almost a concert venue on game days. So, you can have a concert going on with the highest-end tailgating you could ever imagine. Which literally is in walking distance to the front of the stadium, so we’re excited about what it can be.”