Potter County officials recognize the need to improve Potter County Memorial Stadium, but are leery of making a major investment if Amarillo moves forward with a new ballpark.
For right now Amarillo and Potter County are without professional baseball, as the American Association pulled the Texas AirHogs out of the market because of poor conditions at Potter County Memorial Stadium. The independent Pecos League has expressed an interest in subleasing the facility for 2017, but league commissioner Andrew Dunn recently emphasized the need for improvements to the facility.
The one hangup for Potter County is the status of the Multi-Purpose Event Venue (MPEV), a proposed home in downtown Amarillo for a Minor League Baseball franchise. If Amarillo officials eventually move forward with that facility, Potter County does not believe that it would be beneficial to make a major investment in Potter County Memorial Stadium. More from News Channel 10:
“The big variable in all of this is what happens with the MPEV, what happens with whether there will be a major leagues baseball affiliated minor league team,” says Potter County Attorney Scott Brumley.
Potter County currently acts as a landlord, as someone leases the stadium and the current lease is up next September. Brumley says though the county does not like to hear people speak badly of the property, the responsibility does not entirely fall on them.
“The terms of the lease explicitly place responsibility for maintaining the playing surface on the SIB, that being Southern Independent Baseball,” says Brumley.
If the MPEV comes to fruition, Brumley tells us there will likely not be a demand for Potter County’s stadium.
“There are ideas at work about what to do with it, whether it might be to re-purpose that facility for high school and youth baseball,” says Brumley. “I could certainly personally get behind that idea.”
The status of MPEV is somewhat complicated at this point. Amarillo officials were dangling the proposal as a new home for the San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League) in the event that San Antonio moved forward with plans to build a Class AAA facility. However, San Antonio did not include the ballpark in its most recent budget and is still attempting to close funding gaps for the proposal. Late last month Amarillo officials said that because of the uncertainities, 2019 may be the earliest that MPEV would open.