Ever so slowly, the Howard Terminal Project is getting closer to becoming a reality for the Oakland A’s. Another important hurdle was cleared last Thursday as the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted 23-2 to remove the priority port designation from Howard Terminal. The development of the area, and subsequent ballpark, had become more likely to happen.
Another important victory occurred on Tuesday. The Oakland City Council voted 2-5, with one abstention, against putting an advisory measure on the ballot which would have delayed the project.
Howard Terminal Project moving forward for Oakland A’s
This measure was essentially a delay tactic by two council members who are against the project. It would have also been a non-binding vote, essentially an expensive public opinion poll that the council could just ignore moving forward. It would, however, have been another delay and cast doubt on the project.
The vote also could have become a referendum on owner John Fisher. He is not even close to the most popular figure in Oakland after raising ticket prices, slashing payroll, and his constant threats to move the ballclub. Turning the vote into a public opinion poll of Fisher would not have gone well and could have caused more delays.
While this hurdle has been cleared, it does not mean that the Oakland A’s avoided being nicked. As pointed out by John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland City Council wants more answers and transparency from the A’s. There does not appear to be much trust in the organization, and frankly, no one can blame them for those thoughts.
There are still a lot of hurdles to be overcome. A binding resolution still has to be agreed upon by both sides before ground is broken on the project. Time is also of the essence as the A’s lease on the Coliseum is over after the 2024 season. While it is highly unlikely that the new ballpark will be ready for 2025, having the project underway would make a major difference.
The Oakland A’s have avoided another unnecessary delay to the Howard Terminal Project. It is another step closer to the end of the journey.