Alderman proposes citywide election on subsidy for new Cardinal

Sunday, September 30, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- Mayor Francis Slay has threatened to veto an alderman's proposal to require a citywide election on a taxpayer-subsidized Cardinals stadium, saying that failing to approve the new major-league ballpark could spur the Cardinals to move.

"I will not be the mayor who sits still and watches a new ballpark get built outside the limits -- a mayor who watches $8 million a year in direct taxes go south, or east or west," Slay said Friday after Alderman Irving Clay proposed the election.

Clay, a Democrat, said "we've got to stop building stadiums on the backs of the taxpayers in the city of St. Louis. Nobody's against the Cardinals, but I think the owners can afford to pay for it."

According to the deal agreed to in June by Gov. Bob Holden, Slay, St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall and the Cardinals, the six-block Ballpark Village development -- with a new ballpark as its centerpiece -- also would include parking, housing, offices, entertainment, restaurants, shops, a Cardinals museum and an entertainment draw, probably an aquarium.

The deal calls for the Cardinals to pay for at least two-thirds of the $646 million development. If the village doesn't materialize, the Cardinals will have to pay penalties.

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