Thursday, January 8, 2009

Warm Springs residents demand stadium details

From Fremont Bulletin and video from Youtube. There is also a post on Tri-City Beat blog: Lots of Warm Springs folks still oppose A’s plan.

Warm Springs residents demand stadium details
by Wes Bowers
Posted: 01/09/2009 09:50:52 AM PST

A large group of Warm Springs residents requested Fremont City Council set up public meetings to provide them with more information on the Oakland Athletics' proposed stadium in their neighborhood.

The residents spoke during the oral communications segment during Tuesday's council meeting. Many residents said they were appalled at the number of people in Warm Springs who didn't know a baseball stadium may be coming. A few said they failed to see how bringing the A's to Fremont would benefit the city.

In December, the A's announced an alternative site for their proposed stadium to be built along with the ballpark village.

The "preferred alternative" to the original plan would move a proposed 32,000-square foot stadium to a 240-acre parcel in Warm Springs adjacent to the future Warm Springs Bay Area Rapid Transit station.

Other amenities of the Ballpark Village project initially proposed, including 540,000 square feet of retail, an 80-room hotel, 3,150 residential units and up to 300,000 square feet of office, would remain on the original site south of Pacific Commons in the Warm Springs Industrial Planning Area. In addition, a 7.5-acre auto dealership, an elementary school and associated open space would also be built on the original site.

Although the A's have yet to submit formal plans for the alternative site or even any formal plans for the original site, the residents who spoke were angered at the thought of a baseball stadium coming to town that close to their homes.

Janet Fitzgerald said she and her family moved to Warm Springs because of the diversity and quality of life, not for a baseball stadium to be built there.

"Whether it's premature to talk about this or not, we feel we need to be heard as early as possible," she said. "I don't think the people of Warm Springs moved here to have a big, noisy ballpark in their back yards. This doesn't reflect the values of the people of Warm Springs."

Other residents said the city would end up paying for the ballpark, claiming no stadium in the country had been built without the help of public money.

Lew Wolff, the team's owner, has promised the city the stadium would be paid for by the A's organization.

Resident Shafir Rafai said he couldn't understand why the city was welcoming the team with open arms, adding the franchise could move elsewhere.

"I'm disappointed to hear the city is trying to bring the A's here," he said. "I know about the problems Oakland is facing to retain the team. But they don't care if the A's leave.

"Ballparks are usually reserved for cities like San Francisco or San Jose. This will bring down the value of the area, and eventually the city will have to raise property taxes to maintain the ballpark," Rafai added.

Resident Brian Hsieh said he supports a baseball stadium plan, but only as long as it was well-thought out and beneficial for the city. But he said a plan to site the stadium in Warm Springs was not good.

"The A's and the city never consulted us before considering this site," he said. "The A's keep saying they'll promise to meet with us, but we haven't seen them so far and they keep delaying our meeting requests."

Even though the city council cannot speak on matters addressed during oral communication, Mayor Bob Wasserman told residents they had to be patient. He added the latest Warm Springs site was merely a suggestion, and nothing was set in stone.

The mayor said public meetings will be scheduled for the coming year.

"No one knows anything because this (site) is brand new," Wasserman said. "No application has been made. This site is an alternative, and a request has been made just to look at it. So to pass judgment at this time is a little premature."

No comments:

Post a Comment