With the Cardinals 2008 Opening Day game finally - though, disappointingly - recorded in ink, I expect the team’s owners to intensify their focus on Ballpark Village.
Despite (because of?) the sometimes imaginative news coverage of the project, it is important to keep some facts in mind.
The Cardinals, not the City of St. Louis, own the land on which Ballpark Village will be developed. Any plans for an interim festival area or temporary parking or a portable Ferris Wheel will be up to them. If, however, it becomes clear that the Cardinals have no plans to break ground anytime soon, I will join the growing chorus demanding they fill The Hole.
The Cardinals, not the City, selected the developer of Ballpark Village. Cordish Co. of Baltimore has developed some great projects - and a few uninspired ones - around the country. I have no doubt that the Cardinals will continue their association with Cordish, unless they become convinced that Cordish will not deliver the sort of sustainable development that will enhance the ballpark experience and Downtown.
I am absolutely certain that the St. Louis Cardinals know (and believe) that I will not support any additional public support for Ballpark Village, and that the City of St. Louis will not guarantee the project’s bonds with its own credit. If that is what Cordish has been waiting for, the company will be waiting for a very long time. Ballpark Village will have to stand - or not - on the finances of its owners, the Cardinals and Cordish Co.
As tens of thousands of fans often say in another context: Go Cards!