San Jose to hold talks on Athletics

March 11, 2009 12:04:40 PM PDT
San Jose would love to lure the Oakland A's to the area even though there is not yet a deal in the works. But, just in case it is a possibility city leaders are holding their first official talks about it Wednesday afternoon.

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But, there are some major hurdles first.

Property and a site will not be one of them. The city has already received environmental clearance to use 17 acres of city-owned property as a site for a ballpark. It is downtown at Park Avenue and Autumn/Montgomery Streets. It is across from HP Pavilion and near Diridon Station which is a hub for public transportation.

It might seem like putting the cart before the horse but city leaders say they just want to be prepared to welcome Major League Baseball.

Much like the song "Do you know the way to San Jose?" city leaders hope to carve out a plan that is in tune with the Oakland A's desire to relocate and build a new baseball stadium.

"Lots of people think it'd be great to have the A's come to San Jose. I'm one of them. I think it would be terrific to have a ballpark in downtown San Jose," said Mayor Chuck Reed.

Reed and other city council members are moving forward to formulate an appealing plan, even though there is currently no negotiating with the A's, because there is not even a formal proposal out for a stadium project.

"We can put ourselves in a position to be prepared to deal with the problems, issues, get them all worked out in advance so that we're ready to go," Reed said.

But, for the A's to even propose moving to San Jose the team has to clear a major hurdle. Right now the San Francisco Giants own Major League Caseball's territorial rights to Santa Clara County.

Owner Lew Wolff has not said whether he intends to negotiate with Commissioner Bud Selig to make a move into this off-limits region.

Last month, the team abandoned plans to build a stadium in Fremont due to issues like transportation surrounding the site.

That is why San Jose's Councilwoman Nora Campos says it is important that city leaders learn from some of Fremont's pitfalls and create a plan early.

"I think it is important and crucial to include the residents of the City of San Jose, so that if there are concerns, that we're able to here them and be able to address them," she said.

Campos told ABC7 that an A's plan in San Jose would create hundreds of millions of dollars including new construction jobs and a boost to hotel and sales tax revenues that would be great for the general fund.

A council committee is holding a meeting at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday for its first official discussion on an A's to San Jose plan. If approved, the idea will be put on the agenda for an evening council meeting next month so the public can attend and learn more.

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