Like Father, Like Son

Kansas City Chiefs Chairman of the Board Clark Hunt stood at a podium and spoke eloquently and proudly about the new Arrowhead Stadium on Wednesday. As I watched, I felt a sense of respect for the legacy that Clark's father, the late Lamar Hunt, wanted for this city and its football community.

At the onset of the news conference, Hunt made it clear he would do whatever it took to make sure his father's dream of a modern-looking stadium was realized. Without any fanfare he announced that he and his family would contribute another $50 million to the Arrowhead Stadium renovations.

That means the Chiefs will be able to expand the practice facility and add new offices for the staff, not to mention the addition of even more amenities for the fans than the referendum initially allowed.

The Hunt family had already agreed to kick in $75 million, and they are still on the hook for all the cost overruns. That means it's likely that during the renovations, the Hunt family will have to bear the costs of higher prices for both materials and labor before 2010, when the work will be completed.

What some forget is that the vote took place in April of 2006. At the time, the projected budget and cost of goods were based on anticipated costs – not actual costs once construction begins in 2008.

It's conceivable that cost overruns could fall between five and 10 percent. Because of the generosity of the Hunt family, the taxpayers aren't on the hook for that money.

But that isn't the issue. What's important to Hunt is the tradition set forth by his father.

"For our family, Arrowhead is also a special place because of what it meant to my father, Lamar," said Hunt. "This stadium was born out of his vision for the sport of pro football in Mid-America and his passion for the Chiefs. And, by his own account, it was his favorite place on Earth."

Hunt knows that this stadium must be updated and he's willing to commit – along with his family's fortune - to do what it takes to bring Arrowhead into the modern era of NFL theme parks.

"Its visionary design influenced every stadium that followed," continue Hunt. "When Arrowhead opened, famed Bears founder George Halas called it the most ‘revolutionary, futuristic sports complex' he had ever seen, and Jackson County was lauded across the country for its forward-thinking citizens.Thirty-five years later, we are very proud that Arrowhead is still regarded as one of the most magnificent structures in pro sports and an icon in the National Football League, but we're even more proud of what Arrowhead has become."

Now with a larger budget in hand, Arrowhead can get the proper face-lift that has been long over due. And there is not a better person to carry on the dream.

The organization has a young, dynamic, smart and passionate man at the helm of the ship that his father landed in Kansas City in the winter of 1963.

"Just weeks before his passing, he was still developing ideas and attending design meetings with the architects," said Hunt of his father. "He made a very specific request of those of us involved in the process to ‘get it right' for the fans, and it's been very important to all of us to make sure that we do so. The New Arrowhead represents our family's commitment to my father's vision and we'll honor his legacy by being good stewards to the taxpayers of Jackson County."

Kudos to the citizens of Jackson County, because in the end they made this happen in conjunction with Lamar Hunt, who had the foresight to put this franchise in the hands of someone who would carry on his dream.

"As a family, we have always been very proud to call Arrowhead the "Home of the Chiefs," said Hunt.

That home is set to get an extreme makeover.

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