SBD/September 14, 2017/Facilities

Reactions Vary From Residents Surrounding Area Of A's New Proposed Ballpark Site

Schaaf applauded the A's commitment to Oakland while privately financing the ballpark
A day after the A’s "proposed building a ballpark" near Laney College, nearby business owners and residents "reacted to the news with varying degrees of resistance, apathy and excitement," according to Kimberly Veklerov of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Councilman Abel Guillen, who represents the district, "applauded the A’s commitment to stay in town and privately finance the ballpark." A's President Dave Kaval said that the team is "working with city officials to keep the surrounding community and its culture intact." Among the first people he "will have to persuade" are the trustees of the Peralta Community College District, which "owns much of the land at the site." Kaval said that he "wants to see the A’s and the district partner up for workforce development and internship programs." Economists said that the "impacts may not be as severe as community members fear." Stanford professor Roger Noll said that "unless the facility is part of a larger development push, property values may actually decline in the immediate vicinity because of negative effects such as traffic congestion." Schaaf: "The A’s have their work cut out for them. They are going to have to convince many community stakeholders that this project is going to be good for them" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/14). In Oakland, David DeBolt notes Schaaf all along had "supported the Howard Terminal site" north of Jack London Square on the waterfront. When asked if she would help the A's sell the ballpark to the community, Schaff said that her job is to "ensure the project benefits the neighborhood." Guillen said that an informal poll he conducted in his district "showed two-thirds of residents prefer the A's stay at the Coliseum" (EAST BAY TIMES, 9/14).

SMART DECISION: In Oakland, Dieter Kurtenbach writes the A's preferred site is not "ready-made," but the team "picked the best site to build their new ballpark." It would be hard to "find a better axis in the East Bay, and that’s exactly what the A’s need around their new ballpark." Kurtenbach: "Say what you will about the Coliseum’s looks, but it wasn’t hard to reach. The A’s couldn’t be regressive on that front." The area around Laney College has some "great bars, restaurants, and shops already in place." The neighborhood is "quintessential Oakland." It is "not the perfect site: it won’t rival AT&T Park with the awesome water-front views." However, the Laney site is "significantly easier to reach via public transportation and car than Howard Terminal, and the area has so much more potential to turn into the desired 'ballpark village' than the Coliseum area" (EAST BAY TIMES, 9/14). THE ATHLETIC's Tim Kawakami wrote the A's just "completed a logic test, and though it wasn't terribly difficult, let's give them credit for bounding to the correct conclusion and doing it a little quicker than expected." Previous A's administrations have "flunked this test over and over and over again." By almost every measure, the Oakland parcel of land near Laney College was the "most sensible compromise choice" for Kaval in his assignment to find a "suitable site" for a new ballpark. Kawakami: "This could be a very nice place for a new ballpark and I absolutely believe it is superior to the Coliseum site and probably Howard Terminal" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/13).

BID FAREWELL: In S.F., Ann Killion writes under the header, "Mourning The Soon-To-Be-Former Home Of The A's, Raiders, Warriors." With the A’s announcement this week, the Oakland Coliseum "abandonment plans are complete." And even though the Coliseum has been "maligned, shunned and ridiculed in recent decades, it actually has continued to produce winners." Killion: "It is the height of absurdity that both the Raiders and A's are choosing to abandon it" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/14).
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