The San Jose City Council continued its overwhelming support of bringing major league baseball to San Jose at Tuesday’s council meeting, voting unanimously to approve the findings of an economic impact report on the potential ballpark.
Before putting their official stamp on the report, council members took turns repeating their previously voiced sentiments that the planned stadium would be a huge asset if the city scored in its efforts to bring the Oakland A’s to the South Bay.
Issued earlier this month, the 88-page analysis estimated that there could be $130 million in economic benefits and 2,100 jobs generated by the 14-acre project near the Diridon Station.
“This is the right project, at the right time, in the right place,” said District 8 councilmember Rose Herrera.
Several council members expressed feelings that if the city doesn’t act now in nailing down a big-time baseball team, that the right opportunity might never come again.
“We’ve got one shot, and this is it,” said District 3 Councilmember Sam Liccardo. “This stadium allows us to move forward now, when we need it the most.”
The consultant firm that compiled the report for the San Jose Redevelopment agency found that a 32,000-seat stadium playing 81 home games a year could have a $2.9 billion cumulative economic impact on San Jose over three decades. Additionally, they calculated a yearly return of $1.5 million to the general fund through property and sales taxes.
District 7 Councilmember Madison Nguyen said that though she is excited about the potential jobs that would be generated by the project, she urged caution if building goes forward, to make sure the city fully understands the impact a ballpark will have on the San Jose general plan.
Mayor Chuck Reed said that he found that the report was actually too cautious when it came to estimating the potential sales tax revenue that could be generated by the project for the city.
“There is more sales tax that would be generated here locally,” Reed said. “It’s important that we don’t try to oversell this, but it’s a good deal.”
Though Major League Baseball isn’t expected to give official word on whether they will be turning over Santa Clara County’s territorial rights to the A’s until November 2010 (the San Francisco Giants currently has dibs on the South Bay), the wheels are already turning, and the city seems to be welcoming a new ballpark with open arms.
Shortly after the entire council anonymously approved the report, Reed once again pulled out a baseball metaphor, as he has at several preveious meetings, shouting “Play Ball!”
The effect that the potential ballpark will have on the area around the building site will be discussed at a Diridon Station Area Good Neighbor Committee meeting on Sept. 24. An addendum to the project’s environmental impact report is due to be released early next month.