Community groups demand more from A's as team continues pursuit of Howard Terminal ballpark
OAKLAND, Calif. - Grassroots community groups on Wednesday took their demands concerning the new Oakland A's ballpark straight to the team's headquarters in Jack London Square.
They wrote those demands on baseballs they left at the front door of the building.
"The A's owners, the Fishers, have yet to make a concrete community benefits commitment that will ensure Oakland residents get what they need from this project," said Cherri Murphy from Oakland United.
The groups want a commitment to build affordable housing as part of the community benefits agreement attached to the proposed $12 billion project at Howard Terminal.
The project would include a new ballpark for the Oakland A's plus a mixed-use of housing, businesses, a hotel, and other features. The proposal does include $450 million in community benefits that could go toward affordable housing. But that money would come from taxes from the project, not directly from the A's.
"If there is no project, there is no $450 million. These are not dollars that exist in any other universe. Only in a universe where the project is approved and moves forward," A's President Dave Kaval told KTVU.
The rally comes as the East Oakland Stadium Alliance released a report detailing safety concerns with the new project. The study, conducted by Ed Davis who was the police commissioner during the Boston Marathon Bombing, concluded that counter-terrorism measures have not been adequately addressed.
The report also says freight trains stalled in front could impede emergency vehicles from getting through.
"There is no adequate safety corridor now. Our project will pay for all that," Kaval said.
The Oakland City Council is scheduled to vote on the terms of the agreement next Tuesday.
Major league Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred stated this week that if the council rejects the terms, the A's will leave Oakland.
Kaval said he hopes it doesn't come to that.
"We do not want to that happen. But that is something that is possible because we don't know how Tuesday is going to play out," he said.