The Alameda County Board of Supervisors announced plans to contribute funds to develop the area around the Oakland A’s planned waterfront ballpark development at Howard Terminal.
By a vote of 4-1, the board approved a non-binding resolution to funnel a portion of the property taxes generated from the project into a tax district that would finance on-site affordable housing and other “infrastructure of community-wide significance,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. As the resolution signifies intent, the county doesn’t have a definite course of action planned yet, but the resolution states the financing will take place over a 45-year period.
“Tonight’s vote by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is a historic action that creates a clear path to keep the A’s rooted in Oakland and build a world-class waterfront ballpark district that will benefit Bay Area residents for generations to come,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement about the resolution.
The city of Oakland asked Alameda County to opt into a tax district to help with infrastructure costs about five months ago, and, after much discussion, all but one supervisor voted in favor of the resolution.
Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, said the county should spend its money on hospitals and social services instead.
“Once we take a political non-binding position it’s almost impossible for us to take that back,” Carson said. “Even if this goes through, we’re really risking and taking dollars away from people who we have the responsibility to oversee. That’s now, that’s not in 45 years.”
The resolution calls for the supervisors to create a committee to conduct an analysis of the plan’s financing, but that analysis will be funded by the A’s.
Despite Carson’s concerns that supporting the resolution would be a “leap of faith,” the board decided it would give the county the opportunity to “do more due diligence” while not holding up any potential progress.
Without help from the county, the proposed ballpark and surrounding development could be dead in its tracks. If the A’s aren’t able to build their park, the team could leave Oakland and become the third professional sports team to do so in the past five years.
While the A’s don’t want to leave Oakland, officials for the team have visited Las Vegas to explore potential relocation options.
“We’re hopeful that we can actually get to a yes [in Oakland],” A’s president Dave Kaval said, “beyond even a non-binding vote to a binding vote from all the key parties as soon as possible. Because we are running out of time in our current situation. We are under a lot of pressure from Major League Baseball to get to an answer.”
[SFChronicle] — Victoria Pruitt