The poll published by The Journal Gazette yesterday pretty much confirms what most of us already had anecdotal evidence of: Not many people support a new baseball stadium downtown. According to the poll, about seven in 10 don't think the stadium is a good idea. They are also supportive of downtown in general and are more interested in seeing more parking and more shopping than they are in seeing more downtown housing or a third hotel.
"The people" are not always right, but their opinions do matter. If opposition stays this strong, and the city goes ahead with the plans anyway, that will put success of the project in great doubt. At the least, the city has to do a much better job of selling the stadium. Some opposition will disappear or soften as more people think about some of the details -- that the project won't involve general property taxes, for example, that it will include more than just a stadium, that it will involve millions of dollars of private investment.
But 70 percent is an awfully strong number. What's needed even more than details is a compelling story of the vision behind the idea. Why will duplicating something we already have somewhere else bring people downtown? How does in make our city special to just copy what so many other cities are doing? Why is baseball the only catalyst project that was seriously considered?