North KC mayor, Royals address ‘ongoing dialogue’ regarding new stadium, ballpark district

FILE: An afternoon game at Kauffman Stadium as the Royals faced the Minnesota Twins on May 22,...
FILE: An afternoon game at Kauffman Stadium as the Royals faced the Minnesota Twins on May 22, 2022.(Coda: Marine 475 @ Flickr)
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 2:08 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A letter penned from North Kansas City mayor Bryant DeLong and county commissioners to the community Friday addressed conversations between the city and the Kansas City Royals regarding a new baseball stadium and adjacent ballpark district in North Kansas City.

“This plan would include commercial, residential development and entertainment experiences adjacent to the stadium, complementing the amazing businesses and entertainment options that already exist in downtown North Kansas City today,” DeLong wrote shortly after noon on Friday. “We look forward to continuing our work with the Royals and have additional meetings scheduled with them.”

DeLong said a potential ballpark district in the Northland would be modeled after Wrigley Field and the surrounding “Wrigleyville” area for the Chicago Cubs.

“Our objective is to create a place where fans and visitors to the Northland can enjoy best-in-class sports experiences and ‘live-work-play’ in a thriving and safe urban ballpark neighborhood,” DeLong continued. “All of this can be had while still viewing and being seconds away from Downtown Kansas City. We believe the benefits that this will bring to Clay County and North Kansas City warrants public support from the Northland.”

READ MORE: Royals owner John Sherman optimistic about new ballpark, current team

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas later Friday took to Twitter to stand up for taxpayers in Jackson County.

“Kansas City and Jackson County have been strong partners for the Kansas City Royals since the team’s inception,” Lucas’ tweet thread began. “Taxpayers from both jurisdictions have invested mightily in the success of the Kansas City Royals franchise.

“Having already signed onto a border war truce with our Kansas neighbors, Kansas City will not now engage in an intrastate regional race to the bottom that ultimately does little more than fleecing our taxpayers. We encourage the Royals to timely resolve the many questions surrounding their future home, so that all involved can speak openly and transparently on any future public involvement.”

A design firm produced renderings in March of a potential ballpark that would stretch over I-670. The Royals and owner John Sherman have said numerous building sites are being considered.

UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, the Royals released the statement below.

Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. also weighed in, noting that the Royals are contractually obligated to play at Kauffman Stadium until at least 2031.

Jackson County taxpayers have long supported our teams, ensuring first-class stadiums since 1973. Jackson County’s unwavering commitment is demonstrated this year with over $50 million allocated toward the Truman Sports Complex. Importantly, the Royals are contractually obligated to play at Kauffman Stadium, located in Jackson County, until at least 2031.

I echo the stance of Mayor Lucas: I refuse to participate in an intercounty bidding war that ultimately harms our residents. I will endorse a downtown stadium only when I am convinced it serves the best interests of Jackson County residents.

My commitment to collaborating with Mayor Lucas, the City Council and County Legislature to determine justified public support remains firm. However, I won’t entertain this while the Royals attempt to pit local communities against each other. Our taxpayers deserve respect, transparency and loyalty.

Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr.