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Obstacle Removed in Athletics’ Quest for Waterfront Ballpark

The Athletics gained a small victory Tuesday night in their quest to build a waterfront ballpark in Oakland.

The Oakland City Council voted 5–2 with one abstention to keep the ballpark proposal off the November ballot. A’s president Dave Kaval recently said he wants the council to vote on the project by the end of this year, and a ballot measure would’ve delayed the process. Critics want voters to have input into whether public funds would be used toward the proposed stadium.

A waterfront ballpark complex, including hotels, housing, retail space and a 35,000-seat stadium for the A’s, is estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $12 billion, according to the East Bay Times. While the majority of that money would come from private sources, approximately $850 million of public funds would be put toward infrastructure.

“A non-binding advisory measure would have jeopardized keeping the A’s in Oakland, cost taxpayers as much as a million dollars, and done nothing but provide special interests with opportunities to spread misinformation,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a Twitter post. “… The Oakland City Council has provided clear direction in our negotiations with the A’s: Oakland taxpayers will be protected from the costs of the ballpark and associated development. We have learned the mistakes of the past and we won’t repeat them.”

The Athletics, who rank last in MLB attendance this season with 8,688 fans per game, have played in what is now called RingCentral Coliseum since moving to Oakland from Kansas City in 1968. The franchise has unsuccessfully tried to get a new stadium in the Bay Area for many years, and the possibility of relocation gained traction last year.

Last month, it was reported that Major League Baseball wouldn’t assess a relocation fee to the A’s if the club decided to move to Las Vegas.

Several hurdles remain for the waterfront project, and it’s still possible the proposal could be put to a public vote at some point when details of the project become clearer. For now, the A’s will accept a small victory.

"We're just really running out of time in Oakland—we've spent five years on this process," Kaval said Tuesday night, per the East Bay Times. "We have what we think is an incredible proposal in front of the City Council."

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