The Coliseum, before the first renovation of the
stadium in 1996.
COLISEUM AUTHORITY | Over the past few weeks, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley has been quietly pushing with more frequency the idea Oakland and county officials should renovate the existing O.co Coliseum instead of building a new stadium, but few have been listening.
Miley raised the issue during a Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority meeting Feb. 27, but the thrust of questions afterwards focused on the on-going status of stadium negotiations with developer Floyd Kephart and Oakland Raiders ownership.
In an Op-Ed Monday in the Oakland Tribune, Miley wrote renovation versus jointly-financing a new stadium costing more than $1 billion is “practical, attainable and–critically timely.” Only $500 million of the price tag is currently on the table from the Raiders and the NFL, said Miley.
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley was
part of the ruinous Raiders deal in 1995.
Instead, renovating the facility is “more cost-effective cost-effective than building one or two new stadiums. It makes use of the existing Coliseum space and location,” said Miley. “It protects the interests of the county and taxpayers by not over-committing to an agreement.”
However, for the Oakland Athletics’ ownership, continuing to share a stadium with another professional sports franchise is surely a non-starter. The A’s are seeking their own ballpark on the same Coliseum footprint.
Models for the renovation of the Coliseum, said Miley, include Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Soldier Field in Chicago.
Miley, though, also asserts “we have options and are still well-positioned to keep both the Raiders and the A’s while safeguarding the interests of all community members.”
Raising the question of renovation versus new construction could be a move by the politically-astute Miley to give himself cover as negotiations with developers and the franchises move forward.
Recall, Miley is the last public official still in office who negotiated the reviled deal to bring the Raiders back from Los Angeles in 1995. At the time, Miley famously said of the deal, “Oakland is now on the threshold of greatness. If anyone out there doesn’t think this is a great deal, hold me accountable. I’m ready to face the music.”
The city and county still owe over $100 million on the deal, which blows a hole in each fiscal budget to the tune of $10 million annually to subsidize the facility’s operations.
But, it might also be a signal from Miley that if the Raiders remain in Oakland, the most distasteful of options to taxpayers—subsidizing the stadium’s construction—could be the final proposal.