After some encouraging signs from city officials on funding for a new Triple-A ballpark for a San Diego Padres farm team in Escondido, Cal., the potential team ownership sweetens the pot further by promising to work hard on procuring events other than baseball to draw visitors to the city.
The Escondido City Council is slated to vote on the proposal for a $50-million ballpark for the relocated Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), currently scheduled to play at Tucson Electric Park for 2011 and possibly 2012. The council as it stands now is split — one member totally against, one for, and two expressing very qualified support. A key will be the appointment of a fifth member who could possibly break a tie. Some hard numbers still need to generated before the ballpark project is complete: for instance, the city is waiting to see how much the move of a transit station will cost.
If the ballpark funding does come through, it will be a nice comeback for Jeff Moorad and crew, who have an option to buy the Beavers and initiated the ballpark discussions. When originally brought to Escondido, the ballpark funding proposal was one of the most one-sided we’ve ever seen presented by a baseball team, calling for Escondido to pay all the costs and the Padres ownership to receive all the revenues. Since then the proposal has morphed, and while it’s not quite as one-sided as originally, it’s much better for the ciy: Moorad’s group has committed to spending money on local development, agreed to cover cost overruns, and pulled back on its land demands. Most recently the group has promised to book nine non-baseball events, such as concerts or high-school tourneys, to the ballpark in order to draw additional visitors to the city.
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