Letter to the Editor

OK ballpark plan

Sunday, March 31, 2002

The Cardinals' approach to building a new ballpark in St. Louis shows their commitment to be productive citizens of Missouri, not its pampered guests.

The ballpark proposal now awaiting approval by the legislature puts the financial burden for building the new park squarely on the Cardinals, not on taxpayers. Two-thirds of the funding would come directly from the Cardinals and they take clear responsibility for covering any cost overruns. And even though the public will own the new ballpark, the Cards are responsible for upkeep and maintenance.

Construction costs not directly financed by the Cardinals will come from revenues generated at the ballpark and in Ballpark Village, the six-block commercial complex to be developed along with the ballpark. A world class aquarium and a baseball museum will draw visitors all year round. The new park would be a special attraction itself, but in the old-fashioned ball park style that emphasizes good seats at reasonable prices and tugs at the baseball nostalgia inside many of us.

But even if you have no sentimental attachment to baseball, the park looks good in terms of its contribution to Missouri. Responsible estimates say it will create 7,000 new jobs and generate $1.4 billion in new economic activity for the state. I think the Cardinals deserve a round of applause and the ballpark plan deserves speedy approval by the legislature.

Matt Matthews