Two years and three months from the day Busch Stadium III opened the Cardinals have finally decided to do something with the eyesore that is the hole where Busch Stadium II sat. After being pressured by City Hall they have finally decided to clean up their construction site a little bit including picking up trash and pumping the water out of what has not so affectionately been dubbed Lake DeWitt.
The club said today that have finally decided to try to find something more decorative to place around the site. So after 27 months they finally said hey maybe we shouldn't leave a big mosquito infested hole in the middle of downtown? This is a mighty bold move by the Cardinals.
My favorite quote of the day comes from President Bill DeWitt III. Here is what he said in the Post-Dispatch.....
"Had we known two years ago that we were going to have a two-year delay, we'd have done things differently. We're always working under the assumption that you've got to be nimble and ready to go."
I understand the need to be ready to go as quickly as possible for a multi-million dollar project but frankly the Cardinals have been poor citizens of the city of St. Louis in this whole project. If any other business in this city had destroyed a big chunk of downtown and left it sit there for almost 2 1/2 years everyone would have been up in arms. It is truly unacceptable. If you are going to do something with the land, construction wise, that is fine but it shouldn't take City Hall pressuring you to clean up your mess. We all learned as children that if you make a mess you clean it up. Apparantly the Cardinals don't adhere to that rule.
Now to the bigger issue. I think it is time for everyone to start being honest about Ballpark Village. It is not going to happen. I was and have been one of the biggest proponents for it being built. As someone who works downtown everyday I understand how dead the downtown area is on nights there aren't sporting events here. I want it to happen.
The fact remains though any development that isn't 100% done by the Cardinals plans will never happen. What I mean by that is if they can't get all the subsidies they want and they can't make the most amount of profit they can it isn't going to happen. The Cardinals are never going to get a sweet enough deal to make it worth their while. So everyone needs to start being honest and realize that the best that land is going to be used for is parking lots. The Cardinals can get their $20 a car and turn a profit. End of story. The pipe dream of turning that piece of land into either commercial property or mixed use with people living there is not what the Cardinals really want. They want it but they aren't going to get it on their terms. Ballpark Village is just not going to happen like the way we all envisioned it at the beginning.
The Cardinals are a business I understand that. I don't begrudge them. But if you want to know what kind of corporate citizens the Cardinals are for the city of St. Louis all you have to do is look at why they had to be forced to clean up their mess. Your actions speak louder than your words.