Neighbor or Not — How would a Royals ballpark change the Crossroads?

The proposed plan is no homerun with locals. See what impact the park could have on Kansas City’s bustling arts district.

KCtoday_Crossroads Ballpark

Sports + arts collide in Kansas City’s decision of the decade.

Photo via Populous

Unless you’ve gotten lost in the outfield, you probably don’t need us to tell you about the Royals’ Crossroads ballpark proposal.

To put tensions lightly — what’s a homerun to some is the promise of a losing streak for others.

Since both camps have already begun their rally for public opinion, we thought it wise to offer a Crossroads ballpark primer for any fan not sure what team to root for.

A historic district by another name

Nowadays, we know the Crossroads as the cultural epicenter of the city, its arts district — and it has sort of always been that way. It was one of Hollywood’s largest distribution points from the 1930s to the 1970s. Kansas City’s Film Row housed major tenants like MGM, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount and United Artists in what was then considered part of “Midtown.”

When Film Row eventually went kaput, the mid-80s ushered in an era of art galleries and artists flooding the area’s cheap, vacant buildings + warehouses. By 2001, the informally adopted Crossroads Arts District was officially coined with the creation of its community association + its young and cool reputation cemented with the introduction of First Fridays.

Now, arts and culture related organizations receive tax credits for planting roots in the Crossroads.

KCtoday_Crossroads Map

The complete package from the Royals.

Photo via the Kansas City Royals

Ballpark comes, who goes?

Mix jocks with the artists and what do you get? A Crossroads ballpark. The ~18 acre site would occupy six city blocks and come with apartment, office, and hotel developments, along with the creation of the I-670 cap project.

No experience development will be necessary as the Royals intend to merge sports, arts + entertainment by utilizing existing businesses within the Crossroads and nearby Power & Light district.

While many of our readers are on board with the location, other community members aren’t so sure it’s a great deal.

The move would push out upwards of two dozen businesses, including local spots like Chartreuse Saloon, The Pairing, Pokesan, Church of the Resurrection, The Harlow, Kobi Q Korean Barbecue, and the soon-to-open Green Dirt on Oak.

A short list of businesses affected:

  • Mama Ramen
  • Prime
  • Suzy’s Deli
  • KC Kush
  • The Mercy Seat
  • The Supply Truck
  • Salon on Grand
  • Conjure & Botania
  • Royal Master Cleaners
  • The Cigar Box
  • The Bear Champ mural by local street art group SpraySeeMO
  • Resurrection, a United Methodist church
  • U-Haul Moving & Storage of Power & Light and U-Haul Truck Rental

John Sherman, owner of the Royals, said that land assemblage was already underway at the Tuesday, Feb. 13 announcement.
“We’re committed to and currently at work negotiating a fair and thoughtful lease agreement. It’s important to us that this is done with the community in mind, transparently. And that includes with property owners,” Sherman said. "... we look forward to successful mutually beneficial results.”

Those discussions did not originally include business owners themselves.

Since then, the Crossroads Community Association and KC Tenants have come out against the move, urging locals to vote against the stadium sales tax extension on April ballots. The Royals have countered this with their own coalition, the Committee to Keep the Chiefs and Royals in Jackson County, and kicked it off with a $500,000 donation to the cause.

Kansas City Royals Mural located in Westport

The Crossroads question: to be or not to be?

Photo by KCtoday

Here’s what’s next

John Sherman and the Royals are currently in talks to acquire 20 parcels of land. In the event that an owner refuses, some have speculated the city could use eminent domain to push the ballpark through.

Voters will have the ultimate say at the ballot box, when Jackson County residents will vote on whether to approve the extension of the already existing 3/8-cent stadium sales tax — the key funding measure for the Royals proposed stadium.

Stay tuned for the next edition of KCtoday’s Crossroads ballpark coverage — its first (unofficial) series, if you will — when Editors Charmaine + Maddie hit the streets to ask community members what they think.

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