KC's future is uncertain as voters reject Royals and Chiefs stadium tax.

Kansas City  — Tuesday night, Jackson County, Missouri, citizens overwhelmingly rejected a sales tax bill to construct a new downtown ballpark and substantial Arrowhead Stadium repairs, threatening the Royals and Chiefs' future in Kansas City.

Royals owner John Sherman and Chiefs president Mark Donovan knew the initiative would fail before the final count. Over 58% of voters rejected the plan, which would have replaced the three-eighths of a cent sales tax that has funded Truman Sports Complex, home to Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums for over 50 years, with a similar tax for 40 years.

After promising at least $1 billion from ownership, the Royals wanted to use tax money to build a $2 billion-plus ballpark district. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs' $300 million private money would have renovated Arrowhead Stadium for $800 million. Sherman left without answering questions, adding, “We're deeply disappointed as we are steadfast in our belief that Jackson County is better with the Chiefs and the Royals.As a local native, an avid fan and season-ticket holder for both teams, and leader of a fantastic ownership group.”

Donovan said the Chiefs would do “what is in the best interest of our fans and our organization as we move forward.”The Chiefs might try again with a more voter-friendly proposal, increase private investment, or listen to competing cities and states, like Kansas, just across the state line to the west, for public financing.

Democracy has been extensively explored. We respect the process, Donovan added. We thought our Jackson County offer was finest. We want the teams to stay engaged with this county.” Truman Sports Complex leases expire January 31, 2031. Sherman says Kauffman Stadium won't be used after 2030, but Arrowhead will.As clubs struggled to present voters with concrete proposals and were accused of lacking transparency, the levy, or stadium plans, encountered public hostility from the outset.

The Royals suggested two ballparks last fall: one on downtown's eastern side and one across the Missouri River in Clay County. After a self-imposed deadline to finalize their location passed without a plan, they rejected both plans and chose downtown in February.

The new Crossroads neighborhood is blocks from the T-Mobile Center and Power & Light entertainment zone and has a vibrant arts and culinary scene. At 18th and Vine, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum are nearby. However, plans were unclear. Last Monday, the Royals granted Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas' plea to keep a main highway near the stadium open, rendering the current ballpark designs obsolete. Lucas only approved the tax campaign with Royals approval.

From 1969-72, Independence, Missouri voter Deidre Chasteen attended Royals games downtown at old Municipal Stadium. “I think everyone has the same mixed feelings,” she said.We're fine with the 3/8-cent sales tax. Chasteen stated that the stadium location is the issue. “Don’t ruin years-old businesses.”

Many Crossroads landowners had not signed sales agreements with the club, and other companies worried about traffic, congestion, and parking in a thriving residential neighborhood.Royals executive vice president Sarah Tourville said 2028 opening day would be inside the stadium.

The Royals moved from Municipal Stadium to Kauffman Stadium in 1973 and renovated it in 2009-12. Construction and refurbishment of Arrowhead Stadium occurred simultaneously with Kauffman Stadium.The Chiefs intended to restore its 52-year-old stadium, from the seating bowl to luxury facilities to tailgating, while the Royals sought a new ballpark.

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