Officials seek clarity on funding plan for Royals' $2B ballpark district proposal

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas
Posted at 7:46 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 08:27:19-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas is on board with with a new Royals ballpark district, but has questions about how it will be funded.

In a letter to fans, Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman announced his intent to move the from Kauffman Stadium. He also announced plans for a $2 billion stadium and ballpark district.

Though Sherman said talks about the new location are still ongoing, downtown Kansas City is one of the options — which is where Lucas predicts it'll be.

Sherman said it'll take collaboration from public and private investments, local jurisdictions and the state of Missouri to move forward with the plans.

As part of his letter, Sherman said his ownership group intends to invest "hundreds of millions of dollars directly into the ballpark and the ballpark district,"

Sherman cited two main goals of the project as it moves forward: that Jackson County citizens won't contribute more then they already do, and that the project would be a collaborative approach.

Still, Lucas said he's anxious to figure out what it means for Kansas City.

"What we really want to know about it is what type of commitment is being asked from the city of Kansas City, from the state of Missouri?" Lucas said to reporters outside of an event Tuesday night.

Specifically, Lucas also wants to know what investment from Kansas City tax payers will look like.

Currently, KCMO pitches in about $2 million a year from the city's general fund to help maintain Kauffman Stadium, which is part of the Truman Sports Complex, which itself is owned by the taxpayers of Jackson County, Missouri, and managed through the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority.

When asked if there's a cutoff for how much Kansas City would pitch in, Lucas didn't specify, but said the city would need to see returns for its investment if it increases.

"To the extent that there's some increase, which I anticipate perhaps there might be, the question for us is, how does this give us a good return on our investment? And what is the surrounding economic development benefit."

Lucas said Tuesday he expects actions and conversations on the issue to begin quickly.

"Things are moving fast," Lucas said. "I think that's why the Royals are taking this step now."

In Tuesday's announcement, Sherman provided a glimpse of what's at stake.

"To accomplish this move, our plans will be contingent on continuing our public-private partnership and investment with multiple local jurisdictions and the state of Missouri," Sherman wrote."