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Royals, Chiefs host listening session with civic, business leaders on sales tax question

Teams provide optimism on new leases, community benefits agreements
chiefs royals listening session.jpg
Posted at 7:19 PM, Mar 11, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs and the Royals continued campaigning Monday for a ‘"Yes" outcome on a sales tax question voters will decide during the April 2 election.

Leaders from both teams met with the media before a listening session for invited members of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and other civic groups.

Voters must decide whether to repeal a current 3/8th-cent sales tax set to expire in 2031 and replace it with a new 3/8th-cent sales tax for 40 years; the Chiefs and Royals would split money from the tax.

The Chiefs plan to renovate GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The Royals plan to build a new stadium in the Crossroads neighborhood of downtown.

Both teams announced Monday that volunteers for a committee pushing for a "Yes" vote have knocked on 20,000 doors around Jackson County.

Additionally, the Royals plan to meet with all property owners and tenants in their proposed stadium site by the end of the week.

“What we have said to them all is we want to be good neighbors, and that means a lot to us,” said Royals President of Business Operations Brooks Sherman.

The teams were optimistic they’ll finalize new leases with Jackson County before election day.

They are also negotiating a community benefits agreement they hope to announce before April 2. The agreement is a package of promises from the teams that could include benchmarks on hiring minority and women-owned construction companies, creating a workforce training program and beyond.

The teams said they’re modeling this proposed CBA after the one used to build the new terminal at the Kansas City International Airport.

“What's in the CBA is a way for us to do more for this community and support what's important to this community,” said Chiefs President Mark Donovan.

But not everyone is optimistic.

Jeff Evans co-founded Mean Mule Distilling Company near East 18th and Locust streets. While a new Royals stadium wouldn’t demolish his business, Evans anticipates construction will impact his livelihood.

“I’m not going to put my business at risk to fund this whim of an idea that has no basis on it,” Evans said.

At Monday’s meeting, Sherman and Donovan repeatedly used words like "momentum, additive and simplify". Evans said he’s heard similar campaign buzzwords before, and they don’t change his mind.

“Measure synergy for me,” Evans said, as an example. “How do I sell synergy here and put food on my table and the table of my employees? That’s not going to happen, can’t eat it.”