With uncertainty surrounding the future of California’s economic-development system, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed says it’s time to think less about a new California ballpark for the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and instead to focus more on using the ballpark site for a technology park.
Currently the city is working on preparing 15 acres for some sort of development: hazardous waste at the site is being cleaned up, and this would need to be done in any case. The first real big decision will come this summer when it comes to a $2 million-plus buyout of the North County Transit District for relocation of a bus maintenance yard. The yard will need to be moved if a new ballpark is in the works; it will stay if the site is used as a technology park.
Escondido’s ability to sell bonds to cover the $50 million cost of a new ballpark is certainly iffy. The state of California is still coveting city and council economic-development proceeds, and although the state Assembly rebuffed an effort by Gov. Jerry Brown to claim those future revenues to cover basic services, the plan is still alive. Add to that the fact that Escondido is currently tapped out in terms of economic-development funds anyway: any bonds now wouldn’t generate income until 2014 at the earliest because existing projects need to be covered. If the ballpark project is to continue, bonds would need to be issued before the end of year, with construction starting in January.
And some perspective is needed. Escondido operates on a city manager/weak mayor system, so while Abed has more powers than the average City Council member, he can’t kill the ballpark on his own; the full City Council would need to make that decision. A lot can happen between now and the fall, and it sounds like the attitude shown by City Manager Clay Phillips and T-Pods owner Jeff Moorad — stay the course until a big decision needs to be made — is the one that will carry the day.
RELATED STORIES: Moorad: Leaving Padres in Tucson a possibility; Escondido ballpark vote put off indefinitely; Escondido ballpark vote delayed; State government could kill Escondido T-Pods ballpark; New for 2011: Tucson Padres; Escondido approves Triple-A ballpark — with reservations; Moorad group, Escondido sign MOU for new ballpark; Escondido council fills vacancy in advance of ballpark vote; Crunch time for new Escondido ballpark; Padres raise ante in Escondido ballpark negotiations; Escondido ballpark vote delayed again; new council will decide; Padres make it official: Beavers to Tucson in 2011; Election shows mixed support for new Escondido ballpark; Tuesday elections could determine fate of Bevos; Bevos to Tucson for 2011; Escondido ballpark vote delayed after pollution found at site; Fate of Bevos in the air until November, maybe December; Padres pitch one-sided lease to Escondido; Escondido: Show us some money, Padres; Escondido in, San Marcos out of Bevos ballpark mix; Portland Beavers to…Lake Elsinore?; Could bidding war erupt for Bevos?; Portland Bevos update: Tucson-bound?; Come 2011, where will Beavers play?; Paulson finalizes deal for PGE Park soccer conversion; whither the Bevos?; Paulson withdraws bid for Bevos ballpark in Beaverton; Decision on Bevos ballpark could go to Beaverton voters; Beaverton, Bevos reach agreement on new ballpark sans site; Land woes could kill Bevos ballpark in Beaverton; Picketers greet pro-Beavers rally in Beaverton; Landowners not thrilled with Beaverton Bevos ballpark plan; Bevos eye Beaverton for new ballpark site; Paulson withdraws request for Bevos ballpark in Lents; Portland to move ahead with soccer renovation, put off plans for Bevos ballpark; Thursday vote could determine Bevos ballpark fate; New Beavers ballpark lacks support on City Council; Bevos, city close to final funding proposal for new ballpark; Rose Quarter location officially off the table for new Bevos ballpark; Bevos ballpark plans back up in the air — and maybe doomed; Portland ballpark vote delayed as mayor adjusts site, financial plans; New Beavers ballpark wouldn’t happen until 2012 — at the earliest; Cost of Portland redevelopment mushrooms to almost $300 million; Crunching the numbers on a new Bevos ballpark; Portland proposes tearing down Memorial Coliseum for new Bevos ballpark; Portland City Council votes to move ahead with new Bevos ballpark — but takes $15 million from the equation; Paulson agrees to Portland’s financial demands; still may not be enough; Bevos ballpark plan runs into serious financial obstacles; Portland task force gives preliminary approval to new Bevos ballpark — with plenty of conditions; Portland ballpark discussion shifts to Rose Quarter; Decision on new Bevos ballpark location delayed; Will new ballpark fly in Lents?
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.