Chiefs’ inflexibility threatens roof plan


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Jan 22, 2006
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Truman Sports Complex
Chiefs’ inflexibility threatens roof plan

The quest for a rolling roof at the Truman Sports Complex has hit another roadblock.

Unless the Kansas City Chiefs offer to pay more for the $202 million roof, the project probably won’t be on the Aug. 8 ballot. In turn, that unfortunately could kill Kansas City’s bid to play host to the Super Bowl in 2015.

On Monday, 19 members of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s executive committee unanimously agreed to oppose placing another roof plan on the Aug. 8 ballot — if the proposal would be the same one voters rejected on April 4.

Jack Steadman, vice chairman of the Chiefs, confirmed Monday that “time is running short” for putting the roof issue on the August ballot. He said waiting until November wasn’t an option because it would delay design of voter-approved stadium upgrades.

The Chiefs stand by the original plan to finance the roof with $170 million in revenue from a new use tax, mostly paid by businesses. The remaining money would come from the Chiefs and from private naming rights.

“This is not a Kansas City Chiefs issue,” Steadman said, partly to explain why the team was not pumping more money into the project. “This is a Kansas City issue.”

Some business leaders, however, don’t favor such a large public investment in the roof or the prospect of paying higher use taxes.

Chamber President Pete Levi said his group’s main goal had been to keep the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City for at least 25 more years. Voters accomplished that by approving a three-eighths-cent sales tax on April 4 to pay for upgrading the sports complex.

Levi said the chamber’s executive committee was not interested in endorsing a rolling-roof funding plan that voters had already rejected. He added that the chamber could possibly support a roof — either rolling or retractable over Arrowhead — but only with a different funding plan.

Steadman on Monday said the National Football League had voted recently to give Kansas City one more chance to approve the roof and retain the Super Bowl in 2015. Without a roof, the city has no chance to gain the national attention that surrounds the Super Bowl.

The Star supported the rolling roof on the April ballot, as did many business leaders. After the vote, we noted that the Chiefs could help prod this project along by paying for a larger portion of the rolling-roof’s cost.

That would reduce the load on taxpayers and attract more public support.
Penny-wise and pound foolish. What morons!
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