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Downtown ballpark planning moving forward in El Paso

Pacific Coast LeagueThe El Paso City Council is set to discuss a proposed downtown ballpark for the relocating Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).

A few financing plans for a new El Paso ballpark have been floating around in recent months, ranging from a privately financed facility to one funded from the proceeds of a large citywide bond referendum. Though no specific plan is before the council, one prime method sure to be discussed is funding the ballpark with certificates of obligation, which are backed by the city but not subject to voter referendum. The city council is set to discuss the matter next week.

The downtown site under debate is currently El Paso’s City Hall in the midst of the city’s cultural center. City Hall would be replaced by the ballpark, which has plenty of nearby parking and is well-served by freeway access and mass transit.

The city is working with MountainStar Sports Group LLC, which is owned by Woody and Josh Hunt (Hunt Companies/Hunt Holdings), Paul L. Foster (Western Refining) and Alejandra de la Vega Foster (Almacenes Distribuidores de la Frontera)

“El Paso is ready for professionally affiliated sports,” said Josh Hunt via press release. “A Triple-A baseball team and a new ballpark would be a tremendous quality-of-life opportunity for the city, as well as a catalyst for downtown revitalization and a boost to economic development.

“We believe a Triple-A team would be well-received by residents, and we intend to make it a true community asset and El Paso’s team.”

Aiding MorningStar Sports GroupBarrett Sports Group and Perfect Game Ventures, headed by Alan Ledford, the former president/GM/COO of the Sacramento River Cats (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).

If approved, a new ballpark could be open for the 2014 season. 

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