EAST ST. LOUIS -- Governor George H. Ryan continued his aggressive efforts to pitch the State of Illinois as the new home of the St. Louis Cardinals and the team’s new stadium. Today the Governor met for a second time with the team president, Mark Lamping, in East St. Louis.
In November, 2000, at the Governor’s direction, Illinois Commerce and Community Affairs Director Pam McDonough sent a letter to Mr. Lamping stating the Governor’s support, interest and enthusiasm for helping the team relocate to Illinois in the Metro East area. The Governor met with Mr. Lamping last spring as the Cardinals began surveying locations to potentially build a new stadium and relocate the baseball franchise. After the meeting, the Governor directed McDonough and Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Kirk Brown to provide information and assistance in site selection. Four Illinois Metro East locations—Dupo, Madison, Fairmont and the East St. Louis riverfront—are still being considered by the team.
Today’s meeting, which the Governor convened with Mr. Lamping, Director McDonough and Secretary Brown, was to ensure the team has received all of the information it needs in advance of the Illinois General Assembly’s Fall Veto Session. If the Cardinals decide to relocate to Illinois, the project may need legislative approval to create a sports authority to assist with building the new stadium.
“Illinois is a champ when it comes to economic development, and we know how to work with the Illinois General Assembly on creative programs to win business investment and major tourist attractions,” said Governor Ryan. “Like the Cardinals on the field, we have the talent and the tools--including our Illinois FIRST program and our EDGE tax credit to win that title.”
“If the Cardinals were to play their home games in a stadium on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, the communities surrounding the new facility would reap significant economic benefits from the creation of a new hospitality industry in the region that would serve visitors attending baseball games and other events at the facility,” Governor Ryan said.
“DCCA stands ready to assist those Metro East communities that are still under consideration by the Cardinals,” said McDonough. “We’re encouraged that the Cardinals have started a serious dialogue with several communities in Illinois.”
The Cardinals have indicated that easy access to interstate highways and public transportation are important factors in its site selection process.
“IDOT has been assessing the transportation infrastructure needs of the Cardinals and will continue to assist the team as it continues to collect data,” added Brown.