Fall 2008 Progress Report

It’s time again for our seasonal progress report. Does it feel like the A’s are treading water, while everyone else is passing them by? In a sense, other teams are. The greatest solace A’s fans can take from the Cisco Field effort comes from the way they’re pursuing the ballpark. The three parks opening next year all involve massive amounts of public financing, taxes, or even questionable land acquisitions. Sometimes the more honest slog is the harder one.

The funding component has been downgraded due to the delay in housing-related revenues. Should we see more information on the additional commercialization of Cisco Field, the meter can move a little more to the right. The political process remains the same, even though a major milestone was passed in the form of an election. I had not originally factored the election into the equation, only the process of drafting and certifying the EIR plus the business relationship between the A’s and Fremont. Site acquisition and construction remain in stasis due to inactivity.

It looks like the Marlins have gotten the green light to proceed as Norman Braman’s lawsuit has been officially struck down, all seven counts of it. Once they get the financing, the race will be on as they’ll have about 24 months to complete a retractable roof ballpark. I mentioned earlier that the shortest construction time for such a stadium was 28 months. That stadium was Safeco Field, which you may remember opened in mid-July, 1999. Update: The Marlins announced that they will push back the opening date to 2012. They will either have to figure out a way to extend the lease at Dolphin Stadium one more year, or find another interim venue.

While I don’t like how the Twins and Hennepin County managed to get a county sales tax hike passed without it ever getting to the electorate (a feat that would be impossible in California), I love the location and how they crammed a 40,000-seat stadium into only 8 acres. I’m planning a Midwestern version of the ballpark tour I did earlier this year, and if it happens Target Field will be on the list.

Citi Field has proven to be the less controversial of the two NYC ballparks, though not quite controversy free. There is some concern that the “Citi” part may not hold up, as Citigroup has taken quite a beating recently. Surely naming rights would be appealing to JP Morgan Chase or Bank of America, right? Maybe not.

I have a sinking feeling that given the escalating costs to build the stadium and the need for additional financing, the parkland replacement promised for the neighborhood will take far longer to build due to a lack of funds. At least they’ll have the new train platform so that my friends from north in the Hudson River Valley can take the train in.

That’s the last planned update for this month, folks. See y’all in December for the community workshop.

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