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Opponents of the Kansas City Royals' move to the Crossroads get organized — and official

A rendering shows what a new Kansas City Royals ballpark might look like in the Crossroads Arts District.
Kansas City Royals
A rendering shows what a new Kansas City Royals ballpark might look like in the Crossroads Arts District.

People who want to see the vote to extend a Jackson County sales tax to fund a downtown stadium fail formed a campaign committee with the state. They say there is grassroots opposition, especially in eastern Jackson County.

The battle over extending a sales tax in Jackson County so the Kansas City Royals can build a new ballpark downtown is heating up.

On Wednesday, opponents created the Committee Against New Royals Stadium Taxes with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

"There's been some effort to sort of minimize the animus that exists against the sales tax on the ballot — as if it's just a handful of people who are against downtown baseball, and that the overwhelming majority of people want this," said campaign manager Tim Smith. "In fact, the opposite is true."

Smith said opposition against the proposed 40-year extension to the 3/8th-cent sales tax is particularly fierce in eastern Jackson County, in places like Blue Springs, Lee's Summit and Grandview. The Royals and other supporters of the tax and the proposed Crossroads location are "foolish" to not recognize that, he said.

The same day the opposition committee formed, the Kansas City Chiefs added $500,000 to the bank account of the pro-sales tax committee, The Committee to Keep the Chiefs and Royals in Jackson County.That committee now has at least $1 million in the bank after the Royals seeded the effort two weeks ago with $500,000.

Smith predicts a difficult fight ahead for the Royals committee.

“They need all that money," he said. "They need the celebrity star power they’re probably going to try and leverage, whether it be through Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs or Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce."

All campaign committees across Missouri are required to file reports with the Ethics Commission on Thursday, which will reveal how much each campaign committee has raised in total and what they've spent so far.

The Royals’ plans for the Crossroads, announced last week, include the stadium, team offices, a hotel, a residential and entertainment venue, improvements to Grand Boulevard and a bridge connecting the stadium to the planned $200 million South Loop Link project.

“I believe, in my gut, the timing is right for the Royals to become residents of the Crossroads and neighbors to Power and Light 18th and Vine and Hospital Hill, helping to further connect the cultural center of our great city,” Royals CEO John Sherman said at the unveiling.

Business owners in the Crossroads, some of whom the site will displace, have also called on voters to reject the sales tax extension. The citywide renters' union KC Tenants, which has successfully fought for various housing policies since its formation in 2019, came out against the location on Monday.

The Chiefs have said the team would use its portion of the sales tax to renovate Arrowhead Stadium. The election is April 2.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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