With Or Without The Rams: PIN Sources Discuss Proposal For Riverfront Stadium | St. Louis Public Radio

With Or Without The Rams: PIN Sources Discuss Proposal For Riverfront Stadium

Jan 12, 2015

After the announcement last week of a plan to build a stadium on the Mississippi riverfront, pundits and politicians were quick to react with assorted pros and cons.

Likewise, St. Louis Public Radio followers were eager to share, through the Public Insight Network, just what the plan — introduced by a team appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon — means to them.

The plan, unveiled Friday, calls for a 64,000-seat open-air NFL stadium that could be the new home of the Rams — or another NFL team — by 2020. The open-air stadium would also offer the opportunity to sublet its field to a Major League Soccer team, according to Dave Peacock, who introduced the proposal. Peacock is a former Anheuser-Busch president and member of the task force Nixon appointed to develop a stadium plan.

The new stadium would not cause any new tax burden on residents, as required by Nixon, Peacock said. Instead, the $860 million-$985 million price tag would be funded through a combination of private funding, a possible extension of the current bond paying for the Edward Jones Dome, some support from the Missouri Development Finance Board, brownfield tax credits for environmental remediation, and seat license proceeds, Peacock said.

Those who responded to St. Louis Public Radio's PIN query ranged from season-ticket holders to some who’ve never been to a game.

When asked what it would mean to them if the Rams were to leave town, some wrote that they would be disappointed, while others said the loss of the team would be no big deal. Many observers expect the Rams are up for a move after owner Stan Kroenke’s deal, also disclosed last week, to join in on a stadium project in Los Angeles.

Following are some of the responses we received; they have been edited for length and clarity.

David Biernbaum, Chesterfield

“I am a season-ticket holder.”

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis?

“I would be extremely sad, disappointed, and frustrated, because my family and I want to have a home NFL team to support, watch, and be proud of. St. Louis is a professional sports city, and having an NFL team helps to put us on the world map.”

What would be worth to you to see the Rams stay in St. Louis? 

“The taxes that are already in place right now; the tourism taxes, are perfect for serving this project but I am more than willing to pay whatever reasonable sales taxes are necessary to have an NFL team in St. Louis. I am sick and tired of St. Louis degenerating, deteriorating, and losing businesses, sports teams, and tourism. We need to make this happen.”

Do you support or oppose the proposal to build a stadium on the riverfront?

“This is not about Stan Kroenke; let's do this with or without him. Imagine a new north riverfront, that instead of blight, we have new modern buildings, a new stadium, lots of pedestrian traffic, and we not only remain an NFL city, but we also become an MLS city.

“We can free up the Ed Jones Dome for other events and conventions all year long. Let's do something really positive to be the crown jewel of the Midwest. We can do this using mostly tourist taxes, which are already in play right now. With a new north riverfront, clean up the blight, new stadium, pro-teams in four sports, all-year conventions, the Cardinals and Blues, Ballpark Village, and the new expanded Arch grounds, etc., downtown St. Louis can be great again.”

Kevin Rejent, Creve Coeur

Kevin Rejent
Credit Provided by Mr. Rejent

"I've been to a few games."

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis?

"The economic impact would hurt, but the impact on outsiders' perceptions of St. Louis would be more painful. It would reinforce the views those who view us as a 'second-class city.' "

Do you support or oppose the proposal? 

"Too early to tell."

With or without the Rams, would you support any other major sports franchise, such as basketball or soccer, or another football team?

"Yes. More options are better than fewer. And again, St. Louis needs to fight to stay a major city."

What else should we know, or what else would you like to know, about a new stadium development for St. Louis? 

"Real return-on-investment numbers, as opposed to 'the touchy-feelies everyone feels are worth tens of millions.' "

Lou Malnassy, Kirkwood

"I've been to a few games."

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis?

"It would have minimal impact."

What would it be worth to you to see the Rams stay in St. Louis? 

"Considering the long-term costs, it would be a better deal to forgo convention business for a year and rebuild the Edward Jones Dome completely than to build another stadium."

Do you support or oppose the proposal?  

"Oppose. The median age of a home in St. Louis is more than 70 years old; two-thirds of the housing in St. Louis County was built before the Edward Jones Dome. Terminal 1 at Lambert -St. Louis International Airport is nearly 60 years old. As a taxpayer it's difficult to accept that a sports team must have a new facility before the bonds on the existing one have even been paid off."

What else should we know, or what else would you like to know, about a new stadium development for St. Louis? 

"I'd like to know if there's a single individual or business in the St. Louis area (outside of the Rams themselves) who is willing to invest even 1 percent ($8 million to $10 million) in a new stadium with the expectation of receiving a return on their investment."

Robert Byrne, St. Louis

Robert Byrne
Credit File photo

“I went to a game once.”

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis? 

“I might be disappointed, but it would not impact my personal life, nor my opinion of my home city."

What would it be worth to you to see the Rams stay in St. Louis?

"I oppose any kind of public subsidy, be it loans or direct tax revenues."

Do you support or oppose the proposal ?

"I oppose the proposal, as presently offered."

With or without the Rams, would you support any other major sports franchise, such as basketball or soccer, or another football team?

"Professional sports are not a major attraction for me."

What else should we know, or what else would you like to know, about a new stadium development for St. Louis?

“I oppose the present proposal, but might change my view if some additional purpose could be found for the stadium/facility. In view of other needs in this metro area, I find it absurd to spend that kind of money on a facility used 10 days a year."

Robert Hormell, Glen Carbon

Robert Hormel
Credit Provided

"I've been to a few games."

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis?

"No big deal to me as I live in Illinois and couldn't care less about football and the high salaries that the players make."

What would it be worth to you to see the Rams stay in St. Louis?

"The Rams' management should foot the whole bill, as the previous situation was mainly financed by the local personal seat licenses and such. It is the Rams' turn to step up to the responsibility."

Do you support or oppose the proposal?

"I oppose it even though, as an Illinois resident, I won't have to directly pay for it."

With or without the Rams, would you support any other major sports franchise, such as basketball or soccer, or another football team?

"Not really. I’m not a big sports fan."

What else should we know, or what else would you like to know, about a new stadium development for St. Louis?

“Who will pay and for how long?”

Steven King, St. Louis

“I am a season-ticket holder."

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis?

"We would be without pro football. We would be on par with Louisville or Memphis further damaging the area's image."

What would it be worth to you to see the Rams stay in St. Louis?

"As I understand it, the bond payments would be no higher but would the term would be longer. There would be no new taxes."

Do you support or oppose the proposal?

"I support it."

Stephen Rusnack, Crestwood

"I've never been to a Rams game."

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis?

"It wouldn't mean much to me at all, honestly."

Do you support or oppose the proposal?

"I support it for two reasons: 1) It will help bring development to the north side of St.Louis; and 2) it will help bring a soccer team and/or soccer events to our city."

With or without the Rams, would you support any other major sports franchise, such as basketball or soccer, or another football team?

"I would 100% support a soccer team and/or soccer events that would play at a new stadium. St. Louis is, and always has been, a hotbed for soccer in the U.S., and soccer is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Ask Kansas City how much of a positive effect their professional soccer team had on that city, and you'll figure it why it makes sense for our city."

The following responses were to a PIN query after the report on Kroenke’s plans, but before the new stadium plan was announced.

Rob Biedermann, Brentwood

“I've been to a few games.”

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis?

"I'd be disappointed. I love football and am a fan of the Rams and would like to see them do well, but the time of billionaires holding cities and states hostage to make them richer has to end. I am willing and I think the general public is ready to make that sacrifice."

What would it be worth to you to see the Rams stay in St. Louis?

"The city or state should make no deal. The Rams can pay for their own stadium. They, and the NFL, make all the money from its existence, they should pay for it. The current stadium is awful, on that the Rams and I think everyone else who has ever been to a game there, would agree. But you don't rob millions of Peters to pay one Paul. Other major sports franchises have used private financing to get their stadiums built, i.e. San Francisco 49ers and Giants, Dallas Cowboys stadium, et al. I'm sure Stan's got plenty of rich friends who can invest."

With or without the Rams, would you support any other major sports franchise, such as basketball or soccer?

"Of course this is a Cardinals town, first and foremost. I would venture to say this is a soccer town as well, and St. Louis would definitely support a major league soccer team. I personally don't have the appetite for other major sports franchises, but I think the area would support them."

What else should we know, or what else would you like to know, about the Rams staying in St. Louis or moving elsewhere?

"I would like to see an independent economic impact report on to what benefit a pro football franchise is to a city/region, etc. Not a study conducted by the NFL or by the Rams or anyone they hire. Hopefully the city/state has done this."

Heather Clark-Evans, Maryland Heights

"I've never been to a Rams game."

What would it mean to you if the Rams left St. Louis?

"Other than the loss of the charity and tax money, my life would not change and possibly would be improved."

What would it be worth to you to see the Rams stay in St. Louis?

"Nothing. If the owner can find somebody to give him what he's demanding in his temper tantrum and the St Louis region doesn't have to give up more concessions to keep him happy, then let him go there. And we certainly don't need to move the beer-fueled bacchanalia that is a Rams game to any other part of the St. Louis region."

With or without the Rams, would you support any other major sports franchise, such as basketball or soccer?

"No. I do not support any major league sport of any kind."

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This report contains information gathered with the help of our Public Insight Network. To learn more about the network and how you can become a source, please click here.