FREMONT, Calif. (AP) Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff invoked visions of Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field as he outlined an ambitious development plan for a new ballpark Jan. 16.
Approximately 300 people — mostly supporters of the A’s planned move — turned out for the Fremont City Council meeting, where Wolff described the proposed Cisco Field as a “sculpture” to be set amid a village of townhouses, shops, restaurants and a hotel. He also envisioned a public park where baseball fans could view a game on a large screen located on the back of the center-field scoreboard.
With only 32,000 seats, the stadium would be baseball’s most intimate venue, Wolff said.
The A’s have said the proposed $500 million ballpark, located off Interstate 880 approximately 30 mi. south of their current stadium, would be built in partnership with Cisco Systems Inc. and could open in time for the 2011 season.
One of the major hurdles still facing the project is public transportation. The A’s owner provided no immediate solution for linking the ballpark site to BART or other light rail, but said he would present a final plan for traffic issues after further meetings with city officials.
Wolff also remained coy about the team’s new name, only saying that “the name ’Fremont’ will be in the name of our ball team.”
While many attendees touted the increased tax revenue and name recognition the A’s would bring to Fremont, the project received some opposition by environmentalists and Oakland baseball fans Jan. 16.
Representatives of the Sierra Club and other groups warned that the ballpark construction could threaten vernal pools, which are important breeding habitats for federal- and state-protected plants and animals in the area.
More than a dozen Oakland supporters came in their green and gold to urge team officials to consider staying.
Bobby Tselentis helped unfurl a banner outside the city council chambers that read “Keep Our A’s in Oakland.”
“The A’s leaving Oakland means a loss of jobs and could have a chain reaction that results in the other two teams also leaving,” he said.