Omaha Public Radio News
3:17 pm
Tue June 2, 2009

Bellevue, La Vista Mayors react to Sarpy ballpark site selection

Papillion, NE – Bellevue and La Vista's Mayors are weighing in on Sarpy County's decision to locate the Omaha Royals' new home in Papillion.

Sarpy County Commissioners voted 3-2 Monday to build a stadium at 120th Street and Highway 370. That site beat out the Kennedy Town Center in Bellevue and Southport West in La Vista. Cost, potential for growth, aesthetics, parking, and traffic were all factors in the decision.

Bellevue Mayor Ed Babbitt says the city is very disappointed with the decision. He disputes the ballpark consultants' assertion that road improvements would have put Bellevue's proposal $10 million over project costs. Babbitt says consultants and developers told him the cost would only be $300,000. The Kennedy Town Center is located at Highway 75 and Chandler Road, a few miles from Rosenblatt Stadium. Babbitt says the Bellevue location would have only moved the Royals a little ways from their current home.

La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig says the Papillion site fits the results of an initial study showing the fan base was in western Sarpy County and west Omaha. He says the developers of Southport West are moving forward with plans for new business. Mutual of Omaha Bank is already under construction, and a movie theatre could be built at Southport West next year.

Kindig says Sarpy County's plan to pay for the stadium is somewhat risky. The funding plan relies on a combination of current and future tax revenue as well as contributions from the Omaha Royals.