ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Ballpark Village gets to first base with the board of aldermen, as a committee passes out a plan that includes $17 million in taxpayer subsidies for the $100 million project.
Standing before the Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee for more than an hour, Cards President Bill DeWitt III endured some grousing from aldermen upset that the three-inch thick packet arrived on their desks only this morning, but in the end he got what he wanted.
“Well, we’re happy here, out of committee and on to the next step of a long public approval process,” DeWitt said.
Under the deal approved in committee, the city would give up $12 million in future tax revenue from Ballpark Village, with the state adding a projected $5 million in Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Authority (MoDESA) bonds.
Reporters asked why the city, which is struggling to pay its own bills, should give away even a portion of future tax revenues to help the Cardinals.
“There’s an infrastructure hurdle here, a challenge,” DeWitt said, “We’ve got the old pile caps from the old buildings. We’ve got to create a utility loop around the site that will serve the new development, and we’ve got to re-signal streets to square off the site. That’s stuff that is usually already in place.”
To finance the plan, sales tax would be higher on purchases made in Ballpark Village. Does that mean fans will be paying a premium price for a hot dog and beer at Ballpark Village?
“It’s unlikely, because we’ll set pricing to match what other areas around here are selling it for,” DeWitt said.
The Cards President is hoping the full board of aldermen will pass the plan “in a matter of weeks,” in order to then go to the state and apply for the MoDESA funds.