More details are leaking out about the nature of the presentation that Wolff will give to the JPA tomorrow.
The project would reportedly involve up to 90 acres of industrial land between 66th Avenue and High Street, and will be pitched as one requiring no up-front investment of public funds from a community still reeling from sour deals with professional sports teams, including the disastrous 1995 pact that returned the Raiders to Oakland.
These officials say they have not been told about project costs or other specifics related to Wolff’s plan, including the exact site eyed for a ballpark. One official said it is assumed the project would include the former drive-in property, because it consists of about 20 acres of open land and is only blocks down Coliseum Way from the existing stadium.
It’ll be interesting to see how expansive the plan really is. If it ends up being 90 acres, then it would come all the way down from the Drive-In/Swap Meet to 66th Ave. The bigger the size of the project, the greater the possibilities. There’s certainly an opportunity for the creation of an “Athletics Village” or “A’s Town” (someone else has already copyrighted the term “Athletics Nation“) with the ballpark as the anchor for a large swath of development. Could it cause an influx of A’s fans moving into the area, with residents eating, sleeping, and living baseball all year long? Statues of Billy Beane, Sandy Alderson, Wally Haas, Dave Stewart, and Rickey Henderson lining the streets? A Ricky’s location just outside the ballpark? Bruce Bochte running a marine educational center/museum down the street? MC Hammer preaching at a church inside the village? Well, maybe not. It certainly would be a bold step, and if successful, would go a long way towards countering that California and Bay Area fans are fairweather or bandwagonesque.
It’s good for A’s fans to dream and hope about such things, but those hopes should be tempered with the fact that big urban renewal projects often have to get scaled back for any number of reasons: investor willingness, feasibility, government cooperation.