By GABE STERN (Associated Press/Report for America)
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Republican Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo announced Wednesday a tentative agreement with the Oakland Athletics and legislative leaders for a stadium funding plan after weeks of negotiations over how much the state will contribute to a $1.5 billion Las Vegas ballpark.
The tentative agreement outlined in a joint statement indicates a funding bill will be introduced in the Nevada Legislature in the coming days, giving lawmakers less than two weeks to consider it before the session ends.
The threat of a special legislative session looms if lawmakers can’t agree on the terms by June 5. The financing isn’t a sure thing either.
The announcement is on the heels of the Oakland Athletics’ agreement to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits — a pivot from an earlier agreement for a stadium nearby that came with a $500 million price tag that many lawmakers signaled was too high.
The statement Wednesday didn’t specify an amount for public assistance, though Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine said the private-public partnership would minimize risk to Nevada taxpayers. Public assistance would cover less than 25% of the total stadium cost, according to the release.
The governor’s office and Senate Democrats declined to provide specifics on the public assistance request. Conine and a representative for the A’s did not return messages seeking specific numbers.
Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal.
“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said in a statement.
The A’s have been looking for years for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront — all ideas that never materialized.
Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises. The team and the city are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit Las Vegas annually to help fill the stadium.
Earlier this month, the A’s reached a deal with the Culinary Union, Nevada’s most politically powerful union that represents more than 60,000 workers in the Las Vegas area, which guarantees that A’s workers would have the right to organize and negotiate union contracts.
Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Follow Stern on Twitter: @gabestern326.
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