Springfield, MO

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Cityscape: Baseball's a game of numbers

Government and development coverage and analysis

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Love don’t cost a thing

… but Valentine’s Day will cost most nearly $200

An annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics says Americans will spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day this year – up from $23.9 billion in 2022.

Here’s Valentine’s Day by the numbers:

  • 52% Americans who plan to celebrate the holiday
  • $336 Average spend for ages 35-44

If you’re purchasing a gift, you’re unlikely to be all that original. The survey says 57% of us will buy candy; 40% greeting cards; 37% flowers; and 32% a night on the town.

Finance Buzz reports a dozen red roses costs $80.16 on average in the United States – but here in Missouri, we’re paying $71.66, the eighth cheapest bouquet in the nation.

I’ll leave you with a tip especially for readers named Mike who live in my house: For best results this Valentine’s Day, stick to the aisle with the heart-shaped boxes. Your valentine will love you for it.

Baseball’s a game of numbers: Yet city can’t explain economic impact of Hammons Field purchase

SBJ file

I get it. When what looks like an excellent opportunity presents itself, you jump.

The purchase of Hammons Field cements a deal to keep the Springfield Cardinals in the city for 15 years, so they don’t throw up their hands collectively and become the Orlando or Bakersfield or Columbia Cardinals. There’s a long list of U.S. cities that would love to have a Double-A ballclub, and the affiliate of the winningest National League team would likely have its pick of them.

It’s an idea the city introduced Feb. 1, and Springfield City Council will vote on the purchase in a special meeting Feb. 14.

The deal seems to have privately evolved over a long time. In his Feb. 1 announcement, Mayor Ken McClure said, “Throughout several years of discussions, it became clear that the community would benefit the greatest if the city eventually became the owner of the stadium.”

A possible purchase featured prominently in the city’s last two comprehensive plans.

Still, some details are hazy and need more time to be hammered out.

And while the Cardinals would take over parking lots that had been run by Atrium Holding Co. and JD Holdings LLC, General Manager Dan Reiter couldn’t say how much the team plans to charge for parking.

“I mean, we haven’t had time to fully research it, but I can safely say that the rates will go down 33%-50% of the minimum immediately the first year,” he told council.

Atrium had been charging $20 for game-day parking, an amount Reiter said “shocked and appalled” other GMs, many of whom offer parking for $3, $5 – or completely free.

But that means parking would cost $10 to $13.34 – still high, per Reiter’s examples.

Some city residents spoke up at the Feb. 6 City Council meeting to suggest other priorities – like poverty – should take precedence for city resources, especially for a general fund expenditure. Without the city providing a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the purchase, there’s no clear response for their objection. When I asked the city to provide an assessment of the economic impact the Cardinals have on the city, they couldn’t provide one.

It’s notable that the deal does not include a mechanism to repay the city for the purchase.

The ballclub would pay $650,000 in rent each year, but all that money would be placed in operating and capital budgets for the team. No parking revenue to the city. No portions of stadium concessions, sponsorships or advertisement sales, either. The city and team will, however, share the profits (or losses) of two special events per year.

I admit, there is nothing like a night of baseball and fireworks at Hammons Field. But the city should have been able to convey to taxpayers the dollars and cents of the deal.

Service with a smile

Developers must communicate with residents and do the right thing

Before Brent Brown became managing partner of Greenway Development Group LLC, he worked in his family’s grocery business, Summer Fresh Supermarkets and Save-a-Lot Food Stores, where he rose to president and CEO.

With Greenway projects that include Boomer Town Luxury Studios on the west side of the Rountree neighborhood, the Galloway Creek mixed-use development in Galloway Village, and Moon City Lofts in former farmland on the eastern edge of the city, Brown has more experience than most in projects that change the landscape.

Brown said being a grocer taught him some important principles about business.

“We had 65,000 customers come through our doors every week,” he said. “We had to do business the right way or they wouldn’t come back.”

A developer assumes all risk and expenses and puts in all the work, and it doesn’t make sense for others to dictate how the business should operate, Brown said.

However, he said, a developer still has an obligation to do the right thing.

“I love the fact that neighbors are protecting each other and their neighborhoods. I love that we have developers that are creative and want to build buildings and make the city better,” he said. “Sometimes there’s just a lack of communication.”

A communication breakdown happened with the proposed mixed-use development The Heights, planned by BK&M LLC at the corner of Sunshine Street and National Avenue. That issue is now the subject of a lawsuit brought by University Heights residents.

Similarly, communication problems hampered the 7 Brew Coffee development recently given the go-ahead at the corner of Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue, and the Elevation Enterprises LLC project in Galloway Village, ultimately defeated in a citywide election. When neighborhood residents come to developers with a problem, Brown said the best solution is to give them what they want.

“It sounds almost elementary,” he said. “The people of Rountree had strong opinions, and that’s OK. They’re property owners. Not everyone likes the stuff we do in development.”

But for Boomer Town, he took their advice into consideration and adapted aspects of the development to come up with a project that was more palatable to neighbors.

It’s something he learned as a grocer.

“In retail, it’s not about being somebody – you’re just trying to take care of people,” he said. “It’s about making sure they’re as happy when they leave as when they came in the door.”

Contact Karen Craigo
Phone: 417-340-3224


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