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 (city) 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 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.
The Cardinals would handle $146 million of the cost of the stadium itself. The state would contribute $100 million, the city $60 million, and the county $40 million.
The Cardinals plan to start playing in the new stadium beginning with the 2005 season.
Clay's bill is similar to an ordinance that a petition group, the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums, seeks to qualify for the ballot next year. The petition bid wouldn't be needed if Clay's bill became law.