A's release first sketches of proposed Las Vegas ballpark
OAKLAND -- While the team still does not have a confirmed site for their new home, the Oakland A's on Friday have released the first renderings of the club's proposed ballpark in Las Vegas.
The current planned location for the stadium is at the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard next to the MGM Grand casino and resort hotel that can be seen prominently in the images. The press release said the ballpark would be constructed on the nine-acre and feature a multiple seating options with a capacity of 30,000 for baseball games and a partially retractable roof.
"We are excited to share our vision for the A's potential new home. As our first conceptual design, we will continue to refine the look and feel of the ballpark over the next year," A's President Dave Kaval said in the press release that included the images. "We hope our project goes beyond a traditional ballpark and serves as a catalyst for community development and engagement."
According to the team, the state-of-the-art facility would be a hub for sports, entertainment, and community engagement, hosting A's games as well as a range of events, concerts, and community gatherings.
Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo said Wednesday that legislative leaders and the Athletics had reached a tentative agreement on a $1.5 billion stadium funding plan that would lure the franchise to Las Vegas. However, a funding bill still must be approved by the Legislature.
A bill introduced late Friday in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for the ballpark.
The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.
The plan in the Nevada Legislature won't directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.
The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. On Thursday, Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A's, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium's area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.
Nevada's legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement Thursday.
"No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members," Yeager said.
The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.
Also on Thursday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the team's prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet from June 13-15 in New York.
"It's possible that a relocation vote could happen as early as June," Manfred said Thursday at Milwaukee during his tour of major league stadiums to speak with players. "It's very difficult to have a timeline for Oakland until there's actually a deal to be considered. There is a relocation process internally they need to go through, and we haven't even started that process."
When Manfred was asked whether he believed the door is completely closed on the possibility of the Athletics remaining in Oakland -- where the team has played since 1968 -- he placed responsibility squarely at the feet of Mayor Sheng Thao.
"I think you'd have to ask the mayor of Oakland that," Manfred said. "She said she had cut off negotiations after an announcement was made in Las Vegas. I don't have a crystal ball as to where anything's going. There's not a definitive deal done in Las Vegas. We'll have to see how that plays out."
This whole process has been difficult for Oakland A's fans. After seeing the renderings, they're even more convinced the team is far from hitting the jackpot in Las Vegas.
"It's a clown show. It's a huge circus," said Curt Silver with Oakland Forever.
Silver has been leading the grassroots effort to keep the team in Oakland. "The answer is in Oakland. The answer is in Oakland. They're getting everything they wanted and needed financially," he said.
He's even more convinced the Howard Terminal site is the best home for the A's after seeing the renderings for the 30,000 seat ballpark. Silver, like many A's fans, can't picture a venue of that size on a 9-acre lot.
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao had issued a statement after the Athletics' land purchase in Nevada saying she was disappointed the team didn't negotiate with the city as a "true partner."
The Athletics have been seeking a new ballpark to replace Oakland Coliseum, which has served as their home park since they arrived from Kansas City and where the team's lease runs through 2024. The A's looked at a location near Oakland's Howard Terminal before shifting their focus out of state.
With their future unsettled, the Athletics are struggling at an historic level on the field and in the stands. The team is currently in the midst of an eight-game losing streak with the worst record in baseball at 10-42.
Andrea Nakano contributed to this report
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