After months of onerous negotiation, efforts to keep the College World Series in Omaha long term cleared a significant hurdle this week, and the news isn’t good for those who want to renovate and preserve Rosenblatt Stadium.
Mayor Mike Fahey has advocated building a new downtown ballpark to replace Rosenblatt as the site of the CWS, but his preferred site was under control by the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which operates the Qwest Center Omaha and was reluctant to allow the city to build a new stadium on two of its parking lots. But on Tuesday, Fahey and MECA chairman David Sokol struck an agreement that would allow the city to build a new stadium in its preferred location, eliminating a major sticking point in the effort to replace Rosenblatt. Some hurdles still need to be cleared–the City Council must approve the plan, for instance–but MECA members told the Omaha World-Herald that the stadium proposal is essentially a done deal.
Nevermind that the city could give Rosenblatt a major face-lift while maintaining the stadium’s wonderful tradition for roughly half of the $140 million price tag for the new stadium.
"For a few years now we haven’t had enough money to buy toilet paper, and now we have all this money around," former Omaha mayer Hal Daub, now one of the five members of MECA, said of city finances.
Still, it looks like it’s time to face the inevitable reality of Rosenblatt’s imminent replacement. Keeping the College World Series in Omaha is a good thing, even if it means one of baseball’s jewels is a casualty of progress.
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