Major League Baseball launched its new season all around the country this past week, but only one city could lay claim to the kind of future that America’s Game has brought to Arlington and the entire North Texas region.
Yeah, I know that football has tried to steal that title, but it really belongs to baseball because of the special place baseball holds.
After all, our nation invented the sport, and it is symbolic to our culture.
In all the excitement and pageantry of Opening Day in Arlington, some may have looked right past what took place across the street from Globe Life Park just one week earlier.
While there’s been plenty of news coverage about the development of Texas Live! as a companion to the new Rangers ballpark approved in a landslide vote in November, its groundbreaking came with substantial details we hadn’t heard before.
Rangers Executive Vice President Rob Matwick kicked off the ceremony with superlatives marking the occasion:
“We have an incredible vision for the Arlington Entertainment District, and today’s ceremony continues that forward momentum of our commitment to deliver this one-of-a-kind project to Arlington.”
Rangers developer partner Blake Cordish, vice president of The Cordish Companies, added his emphasis to the day’s announcements:
“We recognize the importance of the project. We are deeply aware that it’s been talked about for a long time. I can promise you that we and the Rangers are 100 percent committed to exceeding your expectations and doing everything possible to deliver the country’s premiere urban entertainment sports destination. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Rangers owner Ray Davis emphasized the ballclub’s 45-year partnership with Arlington: “I can’t imagine another city that could be more supportive of their sports team than this city.”
A 300-room upscale hotel is among the elements of the project, which is part of a $4 billion vision for the entertainment district and is expected to add $100 million annually to the local economy and bring more than 3,000 new jobs and three million additional visitors to the city.
Previously unannounced details included:
Rangers Republic, a celebration of the Rangers past, present and future, will be a two-level, 30,000-square-foot, family-friendly dining and entertainment venue that will allow fans unprecedented access to the Texas Rangers.
The Live Arena, a multi-level, central gathering place with over 35,000 square feet of best-in-class dining and entertainment options.
Arlington Backyard, a 5,000-capacity outdoor event pavilion that will become the “back yard” of Texas Live! It’s expected to host over 250 annual events, including cultural activities, art shows, regional and national concerts, charitable functions and community events, and will serve as the launching point for major festivals throughout the district.
The country’s flagship Professional Bull Riders venue, with a capacity exceeding 1,500 people and featuring a 7,000-square foot balcony overlooking Arlington Backyard.
A one-of-a-kind flagship restaurant launched by Emmy award winning chef, restaurateur, author and TV personality Guy Fieri.
Revolver Brewing’s working brewery, offering customers one-of-a-kind specialty beers specifically crafted for Texas Live!
Lockhart Smokehouse, with barbecue standards including brisket, ribs and other meats smoked low and slow over Texas post oak.
All of this is just the beginning, yet it’s already enough to distinguish Arlington as the only venue of its kind anywhere in the country with such an amazing future.
Inexplicably, a few of the city’s persistent naysayers didn’t greet the news with any kind of positive response.
You have to wonder why anyone would not be filled with renewed pride in their city with so much to celebrate about its impending ascendency.
Mayor Jeff Williams sees that promise.
“We are marking the beginning of something big in Arlington,” he said, “seeing a dream become a reality.”
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.