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Elephant Rumblings: Crunch time for Howard Terminal negotiations

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Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval leads a private tour of the Howard Terminal site in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 where the baseball team is hoping to build its new stadium. Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

It’s the first day of fall, the regular season will soon give way to the postseason, and the A’s will be sitting the playoffs out for a second consecutive year.

But this fall could prove more consequential than any of the A’s recent playoff runs, as it appears the proposed Howard Terminal waterfront ballpark development project might either officially be approved—or meet its demise—before the end of 2022.

Per Sarah Ravani at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland City Council held a meeting yesterday and issued a memo on the state of negotiations between the city and the A’s. The good news is that the city is in the process of securing about $320 million in state and federal funds to pay for offsite infrastructure upgrades that are needed to support the project.

The not-so-great news is that significantly more funding is needed and time is running out for the A’s and Oakland to reach an agreement in time to clear the way for a binding City Council vote to approve or reject the project before the year ends and a new mayor is sworn in along with some new council members, potentially introducing a less favorable political climate for the project.

A’s president Dave Kaval stated in August that the city needed to shore up about $360 million for infrastructure improvements, but the city’s memo stated that increasing costs will drive up the total, and city officials are opposed to making taxpayers foot those costs if additional grant monies can’t be secured.

Oakland City Administrator Ed Reiskin said the A’s and Oakland need to reach an agreement in the next week or so in order for a full development agreement to be presented to the City Council by November, clearing the way for a binding vote by the end of the year.

Councilman Dan Kalb stated, “If the A’s really want to be here, they have to be willing to offer a good deal, or a fair deal. All you supporters and fans out there, go lobby the A’s.”

Both sides are reportedly continuing to negotiate in earnest. Gird thyselves, AN. We’re headed to the ninth inning of this stadium saga.

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