(KMOV) -- There are concerns with what the St. Louis Cardinals and developers are doing with Ballpark Village, especially with $17 million worth of tax breaks on the line.
Fans now have more than 400 new parking spots available at the site next to the stadium. Some worry that the $20 fee to park there is taking away from parking revenue that St. Louis City would get if those fans parked in a city-owned parking structure.
“The person who owns the parking lot across the street loses money, the Cardinals make money, it doesn’t help anyone,” says Alex Ihnen, owner of NextStL.com.
Ihnen’s website is a forum where visitors to the site can find information about the St. Louis community.
“To see that big of a space next to the stadium as a parking lot to me is shocking and shows how low of expectations we have,” he says.
When the project was approved by the St. Louis Board of Alderman, Joe Vaccaro was one of 25 who approved.
“It’s the best deal we have going. It’s better than the hole in the ground that was there. It’s at least a move forward,” says Vaccaro, who serves the 23th Ward.
Vaccaro says the eventual sales and income taxes generated by the park will be good for the city and that ample parking will help the Cardinals as well as downtown St. Louis.
“Is it as good as what we originally thought years ago? Probably not. Am I satisfied with the direction and moving the city forward? I do believe that,” Vaccaro says.
Fans filing into Thursday’s game against the Dodgers were optimistic of what the final Ballpark Village will look like and some said it will increase tourism.
“I think when they get it done, we’re going to be happy with it,” said one Cardinals’ fan.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything but dirt (here), so it’s kind of nice,” said another fan.
The Cardinals tell News 4 the large parking lot may be temporary and say for now it’s good for the city.
The first phase of Ballpark Village is on schedule to be completed by Opening Day 2014.