‘A’ ballpark may come at a price for Oakland



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Oakland A’s new stadium update January 2023 Image: Oakland Athletics

Oakland (California, US) may miss out on millions of dollars in grant money that could advance the Major League Baseball (MLB) team Oakland ‘A’s’ proposed ballpark at the City’s port.

‘CBS News’ stated that the U.S. Department of Transportation failed to recommend that Oakland get $182.9 million in the initial round of funding for the City’s Waterfront Mobility Project. Oakland has not received official word that it was denied the grant money.

The Oakland Athletics (often referred to as the ‘A’s’) are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California (US). The Athletics compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division. The team plays its home games at the Oakland Coliseum. Throughout their history, the Athletics have won nine World Series championships.

The 46,847-capacity Oakland Coliseum, currently branded as RingCentral Coliseum, is a stadium in Oakland, California (US). It is part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex, with the adjacent Oakland Arena, near Interstate 880. The Coliseum is the home ballpark of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB).

The ‘A’s’ new venue plans include creating mixed-use development with up to 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of offices and up to 270,000 square feet of retail uses. The proposed development at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal includes plans for a $12 billion mixed-use project built around a $1 billion, 30,000-seat waterfront ballpark.

Oakland’s Waterfront Mobility Project is a comprehensive transportation plan to keep existing residents in place, while strategizing an inclusive, safer and sustainable transportation network for the future.

‘CBS News’ further stated that the City has been securing dollars for the offsite infrastructure needed to support a new ballpark at the Charles P. Howard Terminal.

Averred Fred Kelley, Director of the Oakland Department of Transportation, “While we are disappointed to have not been selected in the first round, we believe we put forward a strong application and are well-positioned to secure other funding sources. We will continue to pursue other funding sources to ensure our projects have the resources they need.”

Oakland applied for grant money through the Mega Grant Program, which funds “large, complex projects that are difficult to fund by other means and likely to generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits.”

The ballpark proposed by the Oakland ‘A’s’ would seat about 35,000 people, and the development overall consists of new housing, parkland, an entertainment venue, and commercial space.

Not everyone wants the ‘A’s’ to build a new park at the Port of Oakland. Groups have come together in opposition, hoping to have the ‘A’s’ build a new park in East Oakland at the current Oakland Coliseum site.

Groups led by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association sued to stop Oakland from issuing a required environmental impact report (EIR) for the proposed ballpark.

The opponents said the lack of a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Transportation “shows the lack of credibility – likely based on concerns over safety, economic viability, disruptions to port traffic and supply chains, echoed by maritime stakeholders – for the future of the project with key public transportation and political stakeholders that should prompt an overall re-evaluation.”

A City document suggests $600 million will be needed for offsite infrastructure. The City has secured or is in the process of securing more than $320 million of that money, according to City documents published in December last year.

The former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is a strong supporter of the project.

The new Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said at her inauguration on January 9th that she’ll be working with the Oakland ‘A’s’, Major League Baseball and other stakeholders on a deal to keep the team in Oakland while protecting Oakland values.

New York (US)-based Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. The MLB is composed of 30 total teams, divided equally between the National League and the American League, with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

The United States Department of Transportation is one of the executive departments of the U.S. Federal Government. It is headed by the Secretary of Transportation, who reports directly to the President of the United States and is a member of the President’s Cabinet.

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