29 May 2007

A's Outreach

As part of the A's efforts to win the citizens of Fremont over, an event was held today involving a representative of the team and the Chamber's Task Force (of which I am a member). It promises to be the first of many different types of events involving the A's and the community.

A pamphlet was handed out that summarizes the benefits that the project will provide the community. If you live in Fremont or the Tri-Cities area, you'll probably run into the pamphlet at one or more events this summer, leading off with Sunday's:
The Great Rotary 16th Annual Chili Cook Off
@ The Saddle Rack ($5 - ages 12 and under free, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
benefiting the Tri-City Rotary Clinic, Washington on Wheels, and the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation
For those that don't know, The Saddle Rack is a country music joint very close to Pacific Commons. Should Nick Swisher stay through his new contract extension and beyond, I can definitely see the Saddle Rack being an establishment much to his liking.

Anyway, back to the pamphlet. My apologies in advance for not scanning it in, I seem to have misplaced the scanner's power adapter. The pamphlet is an 11 x 17 tri-fold with the overhead view of the Cisco Field rendering. Overlaid on the bottom half are the words, "Will you dream with us..." and the "Athletics" logo underneath.

Inside, at the top, in similar typeface are the words "Together, we could have..." followed by the bullet points touting the project. I've already gone into plenty of detail on most of those points so I won't rehash them now. There is one part that hasn't been covered much, so I'll quote it verbatim:
  • With Good Transportation
    • Create a transportation system that connects the urban ballpark village to the existing BART and other light rail systems, buses and plenty of parking
    • Generate fewer automobile rush hour trips than what is already approved for the existing property and roads
The first point is intentionally vague because no one - I mean no one - knows if/when BART will come down to Warm Springs. At the last city council session, a BART rep emphasized the desire for a BART link of some kind to be established, though BART did not suggest or endorse a specific type of connector (before you ask, getting BART directly there is completely out of the question). It might be buses, or BRT or a busway. It could be a people mover type of solution. Light rail is doubtful. And it's possible transfers could be done at the Union City Intermodal Station when it's completed, though Amtrak/ACE aren't designed to take large numbers of people short distances. During last week's council session, Vice Mayor Bob Wieckowski suggested a transit solution that makes it easier for all Fremont residents to get to the ballpark village - no specifics, however.

The second point is key to the political positioning of the ballpark proposal. If the developers can show that the ballpark village would have the same or fewer impacts than the original Cisco campus plan, they'll have a good shot at getting approval. Making such a case is no slam dunk, and the subject matter is well past my layperson's level of expertise.
A few other notes:

Task Force attendees included reps from FUSD's Board, Ohlone College, NUMMI employees, and others from various businesses in Fremont. There's a great sense of awareness about both the risks and rewards in City Hall and the private sector. FUSD wants to talk about an elementary school in the area - one that won't get fully funded by the projected $10 million development fees.
The 2,900 brownstones (emphasis on brownstones) will be in a gated community. I had speculated earlier that this would be required just for traffic control purposes, and that looks to be right on.
One other odd thing about the pamphlet: the line score on the inner rendering's scoreboard is:
  • .........1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - R H E
  • BAYLOR...0 0 2 1 0 2 0 1 0 - 6 8 2
  • TX TECH..1 0 2 0 2 1 1 3 . -10 15 1
Not sure what Big 12, Baylor, or Texas Tech baseball has to do with this, but Tech's Dan Law Field got a new Barco scoreboard 3 years ago. I guess it'll have to remain a mystery.


Anonymous said...

Lew Wolff is about to get former FMC lands and Edenvale rezoned (in SJ) for his Quakes soccer stadium. That's an awful lot of land, and profit, for just a 15-20k seat soccer stadium. Any idea if this relates in any way to the A's ballpark in Fremont?

Marine Layer said...

I've skimmed the memo the city of SJ released yesterday. They're looking to raise $80 million through the entitlements. My guess is no, but they don't say anything about additional profits - so anything's possible I suppose. I'll cover the Quakes and Niners news items later tonight.

anon-a-mouse said...

My guess is the person who put together the illustration with the scoreboard just used a handy photo that happened to be Baylor/Tx Tech, or s/he is a Tx Tech alum. I imagine a Baylor grad would have selected a better outcome.

File this under reading between the lines to the extreme: they use the words "or other light rail systems." They are alluding to a link to VTA, but they specifically said "other." Perhaps "other" means they are indeed planning a light rail system between PC and BART? Yeah, I know. It's very unlikely.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:49,
Lew Wolff was once quoted as saying that if SJ can put together a viable package for soccer, it would prove their (SJ's) interest in professional sports. Mr. Wolff was also qouted as saying "If they can get the A's, that would help" when asked what could further enhance downtown SJ's resurgence. Yes, that's an awful lot of land and profit just for a 15-20k seat soccer stadium...makes you wonder what's really behind all that proposed rezoning.

Georob said...

Anon 7:35,

I don't think Lew Wolff ever tried to hide the fact that he looked into moving the A's to San Jose, but that MLB wouldn't let him. The interview you quote was undoubtedly before that.

If you want a businessman with San Jose connections you can't do better than Wolff in my opinion, and if ANYONE could have gotten rid of territorial rights it would be him. Still, he couldn't.

Any sane business person wouldn't waste time drawing plans in Oakland and even bigger plans in Fremont knowing full well that either location wouldn't pan out.

Oakland Si said...

even the most optimistic projections about the proposed Warm Springs BART extension don't have it opening until 2013. And were it to open it would still be a mile away from the ballpark, and on the other side of 880. A public transit connection would have to deal with that.

Amtrak might be another option, although I'm not sure what the possibilities are.

As for rezoning, I do have some expertise on environmental impact requirements for changing industrial zoning to residential zoning. They are of course much more strict when residences and schools are contemplated. That said, it's amazing what backroom deals can accomplish.