Protect public investment in KC's stadiums
The Kansas City Star
Maintain the public’s stadiums
Almost seven years ago Jackson County taxpayers passed a 25-year sales tax increase to transform the Truman Sports Complex into a first-class facility.
Now Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums just need some first-class teams to play in them.
It’s good to see Chiefs owner Clark Hunt this week finally taking some decisive actions to shake up the club’s management after its dismal 2-14 season. And Royals owner David Glass this month opened his pursestrings at least a bit to sign some veteran talent for the 2013 baseball season.
While the public can’t do much to improve the players on the field, it’s encouraging that the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority recently stepped forward with a common-sense way to protect the public investments in Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums.
A new oversight program overseen by the sports complex authority will be exhaustive, executive director Jim Rowland vowed Monday in an interview. He said the group will make sure the “teams are doing what they said they would do” when it comes to keeping the stadiums in top shape.
The authority this year will go room to room, assessing features such as heating and cooling systems, while also checking the physical condition of the stadium, the scoreboards and other fan amenities.
Problems will be quickly brought to the attention of the Chiefs and Royals, Rowland said, and an annual report on maintenance issues at the sports complex will be available by March 1 every year starting in 2014.
Rowland calls it a collaborative effort among the teams, the public and the sports authority. Still, the new oversight program may not resolve all disputes over use of public dollars. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders especially should keep a close eye on how the new pact works.
Taxpayers deserve to be kept up to date on stadium maintenance. Meanwhile, though, fans will have to keep up the pressure on the Chiefs and Royals to put better teams on the field.