Monday, May 19, 2008


Story in today's WSJ on how Omaha is Divided Over Plan For Pricey New Ballpark:

For nearly 60 years, the College World Series has helped define this midsize former railroad town on the west bank of the Missouri River, mythologizing it as a special home for baseball at its purest.

But now a plan to build history's most-expensive minor-league ballpark has strained relations here, dividing those loyal to the event's traditions--and who think the new stadium is a waste of money--from folks who want to see Omaha turn the event into another glitzy sports stop. It also has alienated the city's longtime minor-league franchise.

The proposed stadium plan turned town meetings into shouting matches. Opponents even launched an effort to recall the mayor. Now, though, Omaha is on the verge of approving $100 million in city spending for a $140 million, 24,000-seat downtown stadium that would serve as the home for the College World Series for the next 25 years, and possibly for the Omaha Royals, Kansas City's top minor-league franchise.

Of course, this leads to the inevitable question: if Omaha fails to build a new stadium will the city become nothing more than a warm Minneapolis?

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