Athletics' Push for Howard Terminal Ballpark Continues Despite Sierra Club Letter

John Hickey

As June is about ready to morph into July, the Oakland A’s have spent the first half of the 2020 calendar having been presented with reason after reason to believe that their plans for a Howard Terminal ballpark to call their new home are in trouble.

There’s the lack of a finalized Environmental Impact Report. There a lawsuit being brought by some of the major players that also call the Port of Oakland home.

There’s the lack of construction capability with the State of California’s priorities for construction in the midst of pandemic. There’s the perceived need to remodel the current plans to account for social distancing.

There’s the suddenly increased difficulty of getting loans for the privately-funded stadium in the midst of an economic downturn.

And there continues to be talk that it would be easier to simply build on the current site between 66th Ave. and Hegenberger Road along Interstate-880 rather than to go for the Oakland waterfront location of Howard Terminal, just north of Jack London Square.

Through it all, the A’s seem undeterred. All signs from the A’s are that the organization is fully invested in going forward with the Howard Terminal.

The latest evidence came in the club’s reaction to a letter sent by the Sierra Club to the Oakland City Council making the case against the Howard Terminal plan. In the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s president Dave Kaval said he wanted to have the Sierra Club retract the letter, in particular the nonprofit’s contention that the A’s have “sought shortcuts and exemptions from environmental laws.”

“We’re really surprised to see it,” Kaval said, noting the A’s have partnered with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. “I am going to call for them to formally rescind the letter.”

The crux of the letter from the Sierra Club was the suggestion that the A’s should be building at the current Coliseum site, which the club is in the process of buying. Because the Coliseum site is immediately adjacent to both BART and light rail and because Howard Terminal has neither, the organization likes the Coliseum site more.

However, the A’s are thinking in terms of developing a residential area with shops and parks and the like.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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