Last night there was a City Planning Commission Meeting in Oakland. It was to solicit input for an environmental report for the building of a new 39,000-seat A’s ballpark with both Residential and Retail Development on the Waterfront of Jack London Square called Victory Park.
The meeting drew about 200 die-hard fans, so many, that staff had to relocate some of them to an overflow room, while other crowded into the lobby. There were comments from both supporters and non-supporters as well as others, who were just plain curious about what the stadium would look like.
The Council took comments from the public and many, expressed concerns about traffic overflow, funding, relocation of businesses, and one person came out of left field and addressed the impact it would have on a possible terrorist attack. Relocation and traffic seemed to be the primary concerns though. Oakland Tribune’s Angela Woodall reported that, “ gridlock on Interstate Highway 880 and city streets was a concern. BART is within blocks of the proposed Victory Court site, but by one estimate up to 500 fans per minute would file into the ballpark on game days. In addition, 16 businesses would have to be relocated, potentially involving eminent domain and displaced jobs.”
There are also some, such as retired architect, Bryan Grunwald, whom expressed interest in another possible location off of Interstate 980 between 14th and 18th streets. This plan was denied when Jerry Brown was mayor. Now, Grunwald says that he has the support of both the neighbors and the busines community in the area to put the ballpark there.
Meanwhile, in San Jose, Mayor Chuck Reed was politely reeling that a deadline from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig came and went. The mayor has been trying to wrangle the team to move to the South Bay, but the area in which the city wants to build the park is where the San Francisco Giants have territorial rights. So, since there has been no answer from either Selig or Wolff the plan for now is stagnant, and this means that Reed will not be able to place this on the ballot in March, which could be a possible win-win situation for Oakland.
There also has been no comment from the A’s organization or owner Lew Wolff, who according to sources, has said that he has no interest in keeping the team in Oakland. Although, I find it odd that they are keeping hush-hush about the matter and believe most likely, that they are awaiting a decision to come down from the MLB.
Supporters of the plan were optimistic that the council will approve the move. The deadline for public comment on the impact report will be on December 9. If approved, the environmental studies will take 12 to 18 months.