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Kagoshima assessing North Wharf as potential stadium site

The city of Kagoshima

Featured image credit: Kotatsumuri/CC BY-SA 2.1 JP/Edited for size

The city of Kagoshima

Featured image credit: Kotatsumuri/CC BY-SA 2.1 JP/Edited for size

Kagoshima Mayor Takao Shimozuru has stated that the city will analyse and determine whether the result of previous research into the candidate sites for development of a multi-function football stadium complex could be used, or whether a new investigative study will be required for a new candidate site, according to Minami Nippon Shimbun.

The City of Kagoshima last week reported to the city council’s special committee that the previously selected candidate sites, the former Dolphin Port commercial site and the nearby Sumiyoshi-cho 15th District site, both owned by the prefecture, have been dropped, and a new feasibility study on the North Wharf site will be conducted.

The city’s expert committee, which was originally convened under the former mayor Hiroyuki Mori’s tenure few years ago, had narrowed down the number of candidate sites for the football stadium complex to three, which consisted of the two aforementioned sites as well as the Hama-machi bus depot site located north-east of the Main Port area. The owner of the Hama-machi bus depot site, however, requested his site to be withdrawn in January and the city duly obliged.

City officials have now told the council’s special committee that the last remaining sites have also been withdrawn, and that the city is now looking to see if the North Wharf, also within the Main Port area, could be a new potential site for the stadium complex.

Reasons for withdrawing the two remaining candidate sites include the Kagoshima Prefecture’s plans to build a new prefectural gymnasium at the former Dolphin Port site, squeezing out the stadium plan, with both Mayor Shimozuru and Governor Koichi Shiota expressing that building the stadium within the Dolphin Port “seems difficult”.

In the case of the Sumiyoshi-cho 15th District site, the city would have to reclaim an extra patch of additional land on the sea-side to fit a new stadium, and the Prefecture had stated that the City would have to buy the prefecture-owned land as well.

After announcing that the two candidate sites had been withdrawn, the City presented its intention to analyse the site of the North Wharf which is the location of a City-owned aquarium and is currently used as a ferry terminal.

The city official explained to the special committee: “The area size in the North Wharf is big enough for a new stadium complex and we expect it to become an attraction for visitors to the city.

“At present both the visitors and logistics workers are crisscrossing the area so there would be some safety issues there should a new stadium complex be developed in the current environment. We are not sure if the port workers fully understand and accept the stadium plan.”

The special committee later requested the attendance of Mayor Shimozuru to explain the city’s decision to look into the North Wharf option.

The mayor said: “After the prefecture’s Main Port committee officially recommended that the new prefectural gymnasium be built within the former Dolphin Port site, it has become clearer to us that developing a new stadium complex there would be very difficult now.

“We will therefore do our utmost to discuss and analyse the feasibility of developing a new stadium complex at the North Wharf so that we can propose our concept and intention of having an inner-city stadium and its significant benefits to both the prefecture and its Main Port committee.”

On the city’s move to seek a new candidate site, Governor Shiota said: “The stadium is a large-scale facility, and building one on a quay may cause some issues, but at this stage we don’t know what kind of discussions took place within the city and what kind of a stadium complex they are trying to develop, so first and foremost we would like to hear about these details from City of Kagoshima.”

The city will be taking note of the prefecture’s Main Port committee and its suggested masterplans of the Main Port area to determine the best time for them to officially propose the North Wharf stadium plan.