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Sarpy County to go rural with O-Royals ballpark site recommendation today

The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners will endorse a Papillion farm as the future site of an Omaha Royals ballpark; we could literally see players come in from the back forty to take the field.

The Sarpy County Board of Commissioners will recommend a farm site in rural Papillion as the location for a new Omaha Royals (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ballpark.

The decision comes after months of deliberations and is a surprise, as it's the most remote and rural of the three proposed ballpark locations. But it has the merit of being the cheapest: the two other locations are closer to the freeway but require a lot more public money in infrastructure improvements — upwards of $20 million for a La Vista site already hosting commercial development, including a Cabela's.

We've also been briefed on the ballpark funding plan. The total cost of the project will be $26 million, with $16 million coming from the O-Royals in the form of rent over the team's 25-year lease. Sarpy County will borrow the entire amount and repay the county portion of the project with a form of tax-increment financing, a local sales tax, and tapping into county taxes apart from property taxes, including keno proceeds and hotel/motel taxes. The county has set a goal of using no property taxes on the project.

The Papillion site is the cheapest of the three proposed ballpark sites, and it's also the most speculative: the decision to put a ballpark there is based on the belief an entertainment district, complete with an arena, hotels and restaurants, can rise out of the farmland. 

RELATED STORIES: Sarpy County officials hint at O-Royals ballpark funding plan; Sarpy County developers eager to host new O-Royals ballpark; DLR lands Sarpy County ballpark design deal; Sarpy County mayors express doubts about new O-Royals ballpark; Details of O-Royals/Sarpy County lease revealed; Agreement reached on new O-Royals ballpark; O-Royals, Sarpy County on verge of signing ballpark deal

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