Earlier this week on March 26 and 27, KC Tenants held two Community Forum events designed to allow the community to share concerns about the upcoming Downtown Royals Stadium sales tax proposal on next Tuesday’s ballot. Both forums boasted excellent attendance, with over 100 in attendance between the two forums. Both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ voters were represented, but a majority of participants at both forums were opposed to the measure.  

The March 27 forum was held at the North-East Branch of the Kansas City Public Library and opening remarks were made by KC Tenant Leaders Regina Bugarin and Mellanie Gray. The second forum was held in both English and Spanish.

“Is this city for billionaires, tourists, and people who don’t even live here yet,” asked Bugarin. “Or is Kansas City for the people who call this place home, who lived here before it was ‘cool’ and when it was still affordable? Why should we pay for a billionaire’s stadium while our neighbors sleep on the streets? Why would we vote our city away for a ballpark that will only be open 80 days out of the year when we could come together and demand a city where we all win every single day?”

Photo by Cody Boston

Mellanie Gray shared her similar frustration, in addition, to the lack of providence of services from the city. 

“No joke, with $2 billion dollars, we could effectively end homelessness, provide enough housing for every person to have an affordable place to live, and revolutionize our transit system,” Gray expressed. And that’s how much the Royals and Chiefs want from Jackson County residents for their ballparks. For some reason, whenever the people want money for something that we need, like housing or mental health services, it’s a fight. But when billionaires want our money, it’s a handout.”

During the Wednesday evening forum, attendees voiced where they would like to see their tax dollars spent instead; ranging from topics of affordable housing, public schools and public transportation.

Jackson County Executive Frank White has repeatedly expressed disappointment in the rushed process and the lack of transparency exhibited by the Royals organization leading up to Tuesday’s election. White attended to listen to comments expressed during the forum.

Photo by Cody Boston

KC Tenants announced formal opposition to the new sales tax on February 19. Their voter guide can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Before the April 2 vote on a 40-year sales tax proposal benefiting the Royals and the Chiefs, KC Tenants will continue engaging with thousands of voters through canvassing and digital outreach efforts. On Saturday, March 30, KC Tenants will hold two canvassing shifts at Trinity United Methodist Church (620 E. Armour Boulevard, Kansas City, MO) at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The organization aims to gather diverse perspectives from all Jackson County residents.

Anticipating that the dialogue will go beyond the April 2 vote, KC Tenants is also conducting a public survey to gather input on the proposed tax, a downtown stadium, and the community’s preferences for the use of public funds.
For additional information or to read the exact ballot language, CLICK HERE.