The proposal for a new Cardinals ballpark is a refreshing example of a major league team making a commitment to the public, instead of vice versa. The Cardinal owners have committed to meeting two-thirds of the construction costs themselves and taken clear responsibility for covering any cost overruns. Revenues for the remaining costs would be raised right there in the new ballpark and the Ballpark Village commercial center that's part of the plan. It would not cost one penny in new taxes.
For non-baseball fans, the new ballpark has economic benefits that would be felt across the state. Benefits like 7,000 new jobs and $1.4 billion in economic stimulation. So the Cardinals wouldn't only pay their own way, their ballpark would pay benefits to Missouri.
And once the park is built, it would cut down the hassle and restore the fun of taking the family to a major league game. The Cards would reintroduce general admission seating and the ballpark design allows for a 15 percent increase in the number of inexpensive seats, compared to Busch Stadium. We're talking about a fun and affordable place to visit, designed specifically for baseball with an old-fashioned feel and seats that are much closer to the action.
The park could be opened in time for the 2005 season if the legislature approves the plan in this session. And if at the end of that season there is a National League pennant flying above the Cards' new ballpark, so much the better.