Chiefs' Hunt not giving up on rolling roof idea


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Jan 22, 2006
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Chiefs' Hunt not giving up on rolling roof idea

By Rick Dean
The Capital-Journal
A 35-year-old dream does not die easily.

Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt acknowledged this week that his hopes of building a $200 million rolling roof to shelter both stadiums at the Truman Sports Complex would not be presented to voters again in August.

In doing so, the Chiefs said they were abandoning their bid to host the 2015 Super Bowl that had been promised to a Kansas City contingent on the availability of an enclosed stadium. The prospect of hosting an NCAA Final Four in the near future also goes by the wayside.

At the same time, however, Hunt made it clear he wants to keep his dream alive.

The renovations planned for Arrowhead Stadium -- the public financing for which was approved by voters last April in the same election that produced a narrow defeat for funding of the rolling roof -- will be designed in a way that could accommodate a roof at a later time, Hunt announced.

Developing a plan that would allow a roof to be attached to the new exterior shell to be constructed around Arrowhead proved to be the driving force in Hunt's desire to have the roof issue reconsidered in August. Architects originally said they would have to draw up one plan for a shell to which a roof could be attached, and another one if the roof was not an issue.

Hunt also said he would encourage the Royals to plan their stadium renovations with the idea of accomodating a sliding roof that would cover, though not completely enclose, Kauffman Stadium.

The Chiefs seem to be acknowledging that public support for reconsideration of the roof issue, which failed by 4,000 votes (two percent of the vote) last April, is not there for a second run. Public opinion polls conducted by the club showed only 44 percent support for the issue. The roof question had attracted much higher polling numbers before its defeat in April.

Hunt's disappointment was evident as he discussed the big-time events that would not be coming to Kansas City without an all-weather stadium.

"This also means that any Kansas City bid for a future NCAA basketball Final Four or a Bowl Championship Series college football game will be deferred until circumstances are right and future community leaders take the initiative," Hunt said in a statement released by the club.

"The rolling roof has always been about Kansas City, its economic development and the opportunity to bring major events to the community," Hunt said. "To make these developments a reality, the Chiefs have continued to be willing to make a significant financial contribution to the construction of a roof at the Truman Sports Complex. However, at this time we have concluded that it is appropriate to proceed on the Arrowhead renovations without the added ingredient of a weather-protecting roof."

Hunt first envisioned a moveable roof that could shelter both stadiums when the Truman Sports Complex was first designed in the late 1960s. A $2 million cost overrun at the time put those plans on a back burner before Hunt revived them during discussions preceding the April vote on major renovations to the stadiums.
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