OAKLAND (BCN) – The Oakland City Council was set to vote Tuesday night on whether to approve spending up to $750,000 to conduct an environmental impact study for a new baseball stadium for the Oakland A’s along the city’s waterfront.
The council’s community and economic development committee voted 3-1 last week to endorse carrying out the study, with Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente casting the lone vote against it.
The proposed site for a 39,000-seat baseball stadium, known as Victory Square, is a few blocks south of Jack London Square.
The site is bounded by Oak Street to the west, the Embarcadero to the south, the Lake Merritt Channel to the east and Interstate Highway 880 to the north.
City of Oakland officials say that if the stadium is built, adjacent development will include up to 180,000 square feet of retail, 540,000 square feet of office space, and up to 700 residential dwelling units.
City Council President Jane Brunner, who has worked with Mayor Ron Dellums and other city officials to try to keep the A’s in Oakland, said Tuesday that she thinks a majority of council members will approve the environmental study.
Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig appointed a committee in March 2009 to study whether the team should stay in Oakland or move to San Jose or Fremont, but the committee is still studying the issue and hasn’t made any recommendations so far.
A’s owner Lew Wolff previously proposed two possible stadium sites in Fremont, and currently is considering building a stadium in San Jose. Wolff is looking for a new stadium to replace the Oakland Coliseum, which was built in 1966 and where the A’s have played since moving from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968.
Brunner said that if Oakland doesn’t start doing an environmental report for a new stadium, “We’d be out of the running now” as the long-term home of the A’s.
She said that if the environmental study is approved, the city will spend the money for it only gradually and will halt the study if the A’s and Major League Baseball announce that a new stadium will be built in another city.
De La Fuente, who is vice chair of the board that oversees the Oakland Coliseum, said he thinks it’s a mistake for Oakland to spend money to do the study unless it gets a commitment from Wolff and Major League Baseball that the team will stay in Oakland.
De La Fuente said he also fears that doing the study will upset and disrupt the approximately 20 businesses in the Victory Court area that will have to be relocated if a stadium is built there.
He said the cost of relocating those businesses is another concern he has.
However, De La Fuente said he anticipates that a majority of council members will likely vote tonight to approve doing the study.
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