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Royals plan for April ballot regardless of new stadium site

New poll suggests Clay County voters may balk
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Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 22, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals won’t reveal their preferred site for a new potential stadium and ballpark district until next month, but they put forth renderings for the two possible locations and released economic-impact data Tuesday at a press conference inside Kauffman Stadium’s Hall of Fame.

Whether the club opts for the East Village site in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, or moving across the river to the sprawling North Kansas City site, voters will be asked to sign off on a sales tax in April 2024 if things go according to plan.

Royals President of Business Operations Brooks Sherman confirmed to KSHB 41 Digital Reporter Tod Palmer that the team hopes to put an extension of the existing 3/8-cent sales tax in Jackson County or a new sales tax in Clay County, which is likely to be a 1-cent tax, on the ballot this spring.

Sherman conceded Tuesday that ironing out the public funding piece is a major factor in the club’s decision-making process along with progress toward a lease agreement or at least a memorandum of understanding with “significant terms.”

While Jackson County voters already pay the sales tax — the proceeds of which are split with the Chiefs, the Royals’ co-tenants at the current Truman Sports Complex — a new survey of Clay County voters casts doubt on whether voters north of the Missouri River would support public financing for the NKC project.

Only 22% would support a new tax with 70% opposed to it, according to a survey obtained by KSHB 41 of 300 registered Clay County voters by Bold Decision, a Washington D.C. research firm.

The poll has a 5.66% margin of error but its results indicate the Royals might face an uphill climb at the polls.

“We were made aware of that poll today,” Royals Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial and Community Impact Officer Sarah Tourville said. “We aren’t sure who commissioned that poll. What I can tell you is we’ve assembled a team of local and national experts with sophisticated polling experience. That polling data has been very constructive and we see a path to victory in both counties.”