SBD/Issue 111/Facilities & Venues

Plans Unveiled For New 24,000-Seat Ballpark In Omaha

Omaha Officials Unveil Rendering Of 24,000-Seat
Ballpark To Host College World Series
Plans for a proposed 24,000-seat ballpark in downtown Omaha that would replace Rosenblatt Stadium as the home of the College World Series were released yesterday, with the project calling for "certain taxpayers to pick up $59.4[M] of the tab, with private donations and ballpark revenues covering the rest,” according to Karen Sloan of the Omaha WORLD-HERALD. The city's property tax rate "would not increase under the proposal," but rental car and hotel costs would increase to "help pay for the stadium." Nearly a third of the cost ($42.95M) would come from private donations. Some in the hospitality industry "have already indicated they will oppose any attempt to raise the city's hotel tax." Rosenblatt has hosted the College World Series for 58 years. Ken Stinson, Chair of the stadium oversight committee for the new ballpark, "expressed confidence” that details could be worked out that would give the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), "management control over the stadium and address its other concerns." The proposed ballpark would be built on two parking lots of the Qwest Center, which MECA operates. In addition to MECA's support, NCAA officials "must agree to extend the CWS contract for a least 20 years" (Omaha WORLD-HERALD, 2/28). 

STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE: The city of Omaha "originally planned to spend $26[M] to renovate Rosenblatt," but Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey said that the NCAA "steered city officials toward new construction." Fahey said that he is trying to “persuade the seven-member city council to back the new stadium.” Fahey: “We're working with the council to make sure we answer all their questions, and we're confident we'll get there" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28). Omaha City Councilman Garry Gernandt, a member of the Save Rosenblatt committee, said that he "remains convinced that improving Rosenblatt is the best option" (Omaha WORLD-HERALD, 2/28).

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