OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — As an anticipated term sheet with the Port of Oakland pulls ever closer on the proposed Oakland Athletics stadium at Howard Terminal, some in the maritime community are calling foul on the stadium’s placement.
Longshoremen, bar pilots and others say Howard Terminal needs to be protected for international trade.
“You never get to rebuild a deep water terminal. Once you pave it over and put a stadium on it, you’ll never get that land back for maritime use ever. The port is a huge economic engine for the region and to give it away would be a travesty,” said Adam Vokac, executive Vice President of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
They also say the train and truck traffic in and out, as well as reducing turning space for large ships in the channel, make it a bad match for the stadium and proposed housing development.
“The idea of putting 4000 expensive housing units right next to a heavy industry. Those two don’t go together. There’s gonna be a conflict. One of them is going to have to leave down the road if they’re built. That’s not good for the job base of Oakland,” said Vokac.
Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval disagrees.
“We think there can be an amazing new ballpark at Howard Terminal on the waterfront as well as a vibrant port in Oakland at the same time. We don’t think they’re mutually exclusive,” Kaval says. He claims the team has already made changes to the proposed stadium to protect the port.
Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf released a statement saying, “Oakland values union jobs and visionary projects. Our city can support a ballpark and create thousands of high-wage jobs at the same time.”
The term sheet deal between the Port of Oakland and the Athletics is due within the next 30 days. Vokac thinks the fate of the port has been sealed.
“I think a lot of decisions have already been made, people. They’ve already got their mind made up that this is what they want to go–they want to save the A’s–but I think it’s going to be the downfall of Oakland if that happens.”