After years of apparent apathy toward the High Desert Mavericks (High Class A; California League), Adelanto officials now say they want the team to commit to a longer-term lease at Stater Bros. Stadium.
Why the change of heart? Money. The ballpark was once viewed as a drain on city resources and the site of potential redevelopment, but now developers are approaching the city with development plans incorporating the ballpark and the fans entering it every game night. The team’s two-year lease ends at the end of 2012, and the city would like to see a five-year commitment.
“We’ve had developers who have been interested in developing some of the land around the stadium, but they’re not inclined to do that if in fact the Mavericks are going to leave,” Adelanto City Manager Jim Hart told the High Desert Daily Press. “If we have a long-term commitment then we can work with developers for some activity.”
The issue for team owners Dave Heller and Bob Herrfeldt: continue to run a profitable operation in Adelanto or seek a new home in greener pastures. Though the loss of redevelopment funds on the city and county level will hurt any efforts to build a new minor-league ballpark anywhere in California (it’s already killed one project in Escondido), cities do have other tools for raising capital, like hikes in a local sales tax. We know of at least one California city looking at this tool for raising money for a new ballpark, and we’re guessing the Mavs ownership may have a few options other than Adelanto.
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