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Crossroads business owners want more time to negotiate with Royals on new ballpark

The unoccupied Kansas City Star printing press building and surrounding businesses would be demolished to make way for a new Royals stadium.
Savannah Hawley-Bates
KCUR 89.3
The unoccupied Kansas City Star printing press building and surrounding businesses would be demolished to make way for a new Royals stadium.

Business owners in the Crossroads area, where the Royals want to build a $2 billion stadium and entertainment complex, fear the district known as a haven for artists will lose its character. "You can imagine people who are counting on this neighborhood for their livelihood, are very worried and concerned about how this plan is going to affect them," said one owner.

The Kansas City Royals recently announced the proposed location for a new stadium would be in the Crossroads Arts District, on and around the site of the Kansas City Star's now-closed printing press.

More than a dozen businesses would be demolished to make way for the new Royals ballpark, team offices and a residential and entertainment area. Remaining businesses in the shadows of the proposed ballpark complex anticipate higher property taxes and disruption to business due to years of construction.

"Many of us are still unclear about the details around the plan," John Pryor, founder of Madison Flitch, a furniture studio and art gallery, told Up To Date.

Erin Bero, an artist and hair stylist, opened Salon on Grand three years ago.

"I thought it wouldn't come to the store fronts of Grand Boulevard," Bero said.

But her business is in the zone proposed for demolition.
Bero said she's begun looking for a new location, hoping to remain in the arts district where she's built her client base.

The Crossroads Community Association held a private listening session with Royals executives on Tuesday night to voice their concerns, and request assurances from the Royals that affected businesses would receive assistance.

Pryor said the meeting was filled with mixed emotions.

"You can imagine a mix of creative artists-types being overtaken by a big corporate sports team doesn't really mix very well," Pryor said. "But I think for the most part, the Crossroads Community Association, in particular, is trying to work with the Royals to get something done that will be good for the community."

Voters will weigh in on the 3/8th-cent sales tax extension in April, leaving little time for Crossroads community members to negotiate a benefits agreement.

"We are probably going to ask the county (voters) to vote no against this, just so that we can get it on the ballot at a later date, and give us time to negotiate," Pryor said.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As a producer for Up To Date, my goal is to inform our audience by curating interesting and important conversations with reliable sources and individuals directly affected by a topic or issue. I strive for our program to be a place that hosts impactful conversations, providing our audience with greater knowledge, intrigue, compassion and entertainment. Contact me at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz.
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