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Missoula buying Osprey ballpark for $2 million

Missoula OspreyPlay Ball Missoula is running out of money, so the Missoula City Council is buying Ogren Park at a pretty deep discount — $2 million — and turning over management of the downtown ballpark to the Missoula Osprey (rookie; Pioneer League).

Play Ball spent years getting the ballpark built, fighting financial issues to raise construction costs and acquiring some blighted land on the Clark Fork River in downtown Missoula; it was a multi-year project that looked to be dead several times. But the group saved baseball in Missoula — no way the N.A. and the Pioneer League was going to let the team stay at a bery basic Legion facility — and it gave the team a chance to get established in a more central location. Alas, the money raised by Play Ball Missoula is close to gone, so the group is selling the ballpark to the city.

Under the plan to be voted on by the City Council, Play Ball Missoula would sell the ballpark to the city for $2 million in tax-increment financing. Play Ball Missoula will dissolve, and the ballpark will be managed by Mountain Baseball, owners of the Osprey. Mountain Baseball will pay $120,000 annually in lease payments to pay off the TIF debt.

So, basically, after 20 years or so the city of Missoula will have a free ballpark on one of the more scenic sites in the minors. Not bad.


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