Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mike Fahey Stadium?

In case you missed last Thursday night's grand opening ceremonies for the College World Series (OK, so did we...) you may have missed what was reported by the Sporting News and the Orange County Register -- namely that:
Now, as you read in both articles, the authors believe these boobirds showed their displeasure because of Fahey's possible plans to bulldoze Rosenblatt Stadium and build Fahey Stadium in the new happenin' North Downtown area.

This is, of course, a tough one for Fahey, since this is being driven by the NCAA: Refuse their demands for a new stadium, and Omaha could potentially lose the CWS. Give in to their demands, and the beloved 'Blatt could make way for a new panda exhibit, the city could have another new ballpark like a zillion other minor league towns, and the charm of the CWS could vanish -- along with Fahey's career and legacy.

Of course one could also argue that Fahey's job should be a little more than to simply nod to every suggestion of Dennis Poppe and the boys. If Fahey really thinks it's a bad idea to flatten the Mecca of college baseball, shouldn't he come up with a grand plan -- maybe even a fifty million dollar plan for the area? Sure we've heard about the suggestions to steamroller the west side of 13th street, but will that do the trick for the NCAA? Is it really bold enough?

So, would a new stadium be a good thing or a bad thing? And lest we think this is a pure "policy" issue, remember that the history of Rosenblatt Stadium WILL become the legacy of Mike Fahey. If it succeeds, he's a hero. If it blows, he's the goat.

We here on Leavenworth Street have a few thoughts, which we may share as we go along. But we'd like to hear what YOU think should happen with the 'Blatt, and what will happen with Fahey. Make you opinion known on the comment board (and please give your name or make one up, so you can separate yourself from the other Anonymous-es).

What will be the Legacy of Mike Fahey?


OmaSteak said...

IMHO, the new stadium isn't being driven primarily by the NCAA but by the same local business interests that promoted (and hugely profitted) from the Qwest/Hilton fiasco. The Mayor Landow/Fahey combo is justing doing what they are paid to do, namely maximize the profits flowing to their backers while putting the majority of any project financial risk onto the local property taxpayers. The NoDo stadium will be another so-called private-public partnership where some private capital will be put up in return for all sorts of special favors and guaranteed access to both development/construction contracts and any new public debt issued at favorable terms before offered to the public debt market in general. All one has to do is look across the river to see what impact the Omaha Chamber/Landow-Fahey/Kiewit/HDR/MidAmerican team are having on major development in Omaha. Literally hundreds of millions of dollars of new 100% private development in CB, no equal or greater action in Omaha. City council in Omaha going to take any action??? NO WAY!!! They are all terrified of Landow's temper and acts of revenge. Mikey is no slacker in that department either despite his "kindly older gent" image. Bottom line...between the OPS/learning community fiasco and the Landow/Fahey cabal, relocation is the best & only alternative to escape unlimited and unchecked appetite for taxpayer money.

JoeMerchant24 said...

Nuke the 'Blatt.

As for fahey's legacy... I could care less except having a legacy indicates he's out of office, which would be good thing.

Hmmm... Mayor Chambers... That couldn't happen... could it?

Angela said...

If our government officials would put more time, money, and efforts into places like the Open Door Mission we might actually get something eternal back.

I don't understand why they want to get rid of what we've already dumped money into. Didn't we just finish up adding more seats to the stadium?

Anonymous said...

I absolutely think this has to do with Fahey's legacy. I must admit I am a proponent of the proposed new staduim, but seeing Rosenblatt on the hill on national TV, with all the Trees and panoramic views, it's tough to argue against renovations.

That said, I see the proposal as the natural evolution of the cities progress which keeps me, a single 28 year old professional, here.

Although a bit rose colored, I have visions of the new stadium leading the way, turning the North Downtown area into a LoDO (Denver) and Plaza (Kc) combo. With the arena and ballpark I hope retailers will follow. Should this come to fruition this could be one of the most enjoyable cities in Middle America.

I agree with your thoughts on the open door mission, and I hope that can become reality as well.

Eric said...

There's no reason to throw good money after bad. We've spent so much money on Rosenblatt to keep the CWS, but there are some parts that just can't be improved at a reasonable price tag (but desperately need it). We will eventually put the $50 mil or more into the stadium at the rate we're going. I think we'd get more for our money if we started over. I'm not sure the NoDo idea is the best one, but Fahey could build a legacy if they somehow figure out a way to transfer the "history and tradition" of Rosenblatt to a new ballpark. Is it possible to build it on the same site and call it Rosenblatt?

Are they still planning on having Creighton share this new ballpark with the Royals? That was a bad idea. The Royals start their season while Creighton is still playing unlike the Saltdogs who share Haymarket Park with the Huskers.

foxspit said...

I don't think Creighton, or any NCAA team, should share the same ballpark as the home of the College World Series. I don't have a problem with them using Rosenblatt on occasion, but they don't play every home game on that field.

Why not take the money they would spend on a new ballpark and gut the grandstand and concourses at Rosenblatt and install new ones?

I understand the zoo needs room to expand, but I don't like the idea of giving up the character of Rosenblatt.

Why not partner up with the zoo and build a structure that benefits both? If Rosenblatt needs parking, it could be a parking garage/panda exhibit (or whatever need the zoo has for space) that can be used by both entities.

THINKamerica said...

Omasteak - you reference "100% private development" in CB. If you're talking about Google coming to Counciltucky, there's nothing 100 percent private about it. CB leaders are giving Google up to $48 million in property tax breaks over the next 20 years. But I seriously doubt the people applying for those new tech jobs are whining about it.

The CWS brings in millions of dollars to Omaha. Plus the new stadium will be on the doorstep to North Omaha, bringing money and jobs to an area severely lacking in both categories.

If Landow/Fahey/Kiewit/HDR/Midamerica are responsible for the recent development in Omaha (Qwest, riverfront, Abbott drive, aksarban, midtown crossing, village point), then I say keep it coming.

GA Hill said...

Anonymous said it very, very well--people need to stop just focusing on the CWS aspect of this argument. Of course that is where this discussion begins and probably ends, but there is so much of having a new ballpark in North Downtown (I refuse to call it "NoDo"). The development that would follow by having an anchor landmark there would be worth it. And that type of urban development is indeed the type of thing that attracts young professionals. Omaha doesn't have a problem getting young people who move here to stay--as I have found out, now that I live here, it is a lot better than I thought it would be and have a hard time imagining living anywhere else--but getting them and the businesses that hire them here in the first place is a very different matter.

All that said, I was much, much more in favor of the new ballpark before heading down to the Johnny on Tuesday. Again, Anonymous summed it up well--the neighborhood, the zoo, the trees, the way the stadium lights looked great. And it would certainly be very weird not to park my car in someone's yard, walk by all the tents, and grab a beer at a church converted into a bar on my way to a game. It would be a bummer, in fact.

But the positives of building a new ballpark downtown would outweigh the nostalgia and pining for the good old days.

Anonymous said...

As of now I do not think we have a candidate for senate that can start a fire under the voters chair to get them up to vote.
Hal Daub, Washed up, good ole boy.
Mike Johanns, Weak but lucky.
John Bruning, He will shoot himself in the foot.
WE suffer from S O S
Same old -hit.