Oakland looks at trying to keep Coliseum teams

March 6, 2012 10:35:09 PM PST
Talk of a Coliseum City in East Oakland could become much more than that if the City Council decides to conduct a pricy development study. It's a study that could ultimately keep the city's three sports teams from leaving town.

Several city officials expressed their excitement about what a new complex could mean. It won't just be a new facility, but it means revenue and jobs.

"They're from the East Bay, they need to stay in the East Bay," said Chris Dobbins.

Dobbins is committed to Oakland; he and other die-hard Oakland sports fans, from all backgrounds, are part of a grassroots group called SaveOaklandSports.org.

"Oakland needs those three teams. For a city of our size, to have three professional sports teams, the history that they have, the legacies they had in the 70s and 80s with great teams, they need to stay in the East Bay and stay in Oakland," said Dobbins.

There are 750 acres surrounding the Oakland Coliseum. A review would determine if the complex, built in the 60s and home to both the Raiders -- who are scheduled to be in a football only stadium by 2015 -- and the Oakland A's would need cosmetic work or complete reconstruction from the ground up. The Warriors lease agreement for the arena is up in 2017 and a Coliseum city development would be part of a larger revitalization plan for the surrounding area.

"It's really an opportunity to change this city for a lifetime," said City Councilmember Larry Reid.

The City Council will consider two Coliseum city proposals together. One would authorize the city to enter into an exclusive negotiation deal with certain developers and the second would approve agreements with consultants, an agreement that comes with a hefty price tag -- $3.5 million. That is money Reid says the city can afford to spend.

"We had set aside funding to do just what we're doing to be talking action on tonight. Part of it is what they call pre-development fees to assist a master developer on his responsibilities and the other piece is to pay for the planning," said Reid.

Over the weekend, several sports columnists shot down the idea of the A's moving to San Jose, citing once again, territorial rights of the San Francisco Giants. There has been no reaction from A's owner Lew Wolff and nothing from Major League Baseball, but all the speculation has even the players wondering if a new home is in their future.

"I think if you ask players, I think they'd be lying if they said that they weren't thinking about it a little bit. You're part of an organization that possibly is moving, possibly isn't," said Oakland A's catcher Kurt Suzuki.

The City Council is expected to authorize the $3.5 million study. In fact, the mayor's office has already sent out a press release announcing their plans to move forward.

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