Plans to build a new ballpark for the Oakland A’s at the site of the Peralta Community College District offices, across the street from Laney College’s athletic fields, were quashed on Tuesday by a decision by the college district’s Board of Trustees.
The board held a closed session meeting to discuss the A’s proposal to use the land for a new stadium. In a brief statement issued today, Chancellor Jowel Laguerre said the board had instructed him to “discontinue planning for a community engagement process on a possible baseball stadium.”
The A’s issued their own statement saying that the team was “shocked” by the decision.
“All we wanted to do was enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, and the Peralta Community College District,” the team’s statement said. “We are disappointed that we will not have that opportunity.”
A's STATEMENT: We are shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward. All we wanted to do was enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, & the Peralta Community College District. We are disappointed that we will not have that opportunity.— Oakland Athletics 🌳🐘⚾️ (@Athletics) December 6, 2017
The news appears to have come as a major surprise for the A’s. The team had planned to host a rally at the nearby tacqueria La Estrellita Café ahead of next week’s Board of Trustees meeting and was encouraging fans to attend.
But the team had always faced an uphill battle in choosing the site at Laney. Opposition to the plan was swift when the A’s made their announcement in September, and while a poll of Oakland voters by the city’s Chamber of Commerce showed support for the idea, members of the school’s faculty union and student government were opposed.
The site of the district offices was one of three sites under consideration by the A’s, each with its own challenges.
Opponents of the Laney site cited possible displacement, disruption of wildlife and parking and transportation issues.
Mayor Libby Schaaf, who had hoped the A’s would choose to build a ballpark at Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, said in a statement that "Oakland remains fiercely determined to keep the A's in Oakland.”
“It is unfortunate the discussion with Peralta ended so abruptly, yet we are committed, more than ever, to working with the A's and our community to find the right spot in Oakland for a privately-financed ballpark," Schaaf said.
Oakland remains fiercely determined to keep the @Athletics in Oakland. It is unfortunate the discussion w/ Peralta ended so abruptly, yet we're committed, more than ever, to working with the A’s and our community to find the right spot in OAK for a privately-financed ballpark.— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) December 6, 2017
City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan encouraged the A’s to build on the site of the Coliseum, where they’ve played for nearly 50 years.
“The Coliseum site already has a BART station with large capacity, and the pedestrian walkway could be improved, both to make it larger, and to make it more attractive and welcoming,” Kaplan said.