Wichita Is Becoming A Triple A Baseball City But Doesn’t Where Money Is Coming from For Some Ballpark Needs

What money?

In the event you haven’t noticed, moderately sized American cities have caught Triple A Minor League Baseball fever and have decided to invest in a business that seemingly has minimal economic impact on an area. Wichita, Kansas jumped on that bandwagon in 2018 with an intention of investing more than $60 million into a ballpark that will be used around 70 times a year by a minor league baseball team.  It does not matter if it is Triple A level or a much lower level baseball, minor league baseball franchises are not economic generators and local governments know that. Wichita’s stadium proposal got the owners of the New Orleans team to move its Triple A franchise into the city in 2020. The stadium money has been put aside but there is a financial problem attached to the project. Wichita doesn’t know how to pay for needed infrastructure. But that’s not a problem according to the local planning commissioner Scott Knebel because “we adopt a lot of plans that don’t have those answers when we adopt them.”

Wichita is in Kansas and Kansas has significant financial problems. Wichita politicians did find money for the ballpark with some of that coming from property taxes from businesses that will, the politicians think, move into the ballpark area. Wichita elected officials think the ballpark will spur a citywide renaissance attracting retail businesses along with restaurants. Retail and restaurant jobs are low paying positions.  The hope is that non-baseball fans will venture area and drop some money in the restaurants and retail shops. That would just move money from one area to another area.  The Wichita stadium will feature luxury boxes and all the revenue generating gadgets minor league owners want. Meanwhile minor league players continue to make near poverty wages as Major League Baseball owners have no interest giving the players a pay hike.

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