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Foster: Opposition to new El Paso ballpark not a surprise

New El Paso ballpark

Paul Foster, one of the four owners of a potential El Paso Triple-A team, says opposition to public funding of a new downtown ballpark was expected and understandable, but a purchase of the team is at hand.

Foster, along with his wife Alejandra de la Vega Foster, businessman Woody Hunt and his son, Josh Hunt, are buying the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) from San Diego Padres minority owner Jeff Moorad and his investors, who bought the team with the intention of placing it in a new Escondido (Cal.) ballpark. That effort failed, as did Moorad’s attempt to buy the majority share of the Padres, leading to the decision to sell the Triple-A franchise. (We’re guessing Moorad and crew won’t be too sad over the sale of the team: they paid a reported $17 million for the Portland Beavers and are selling the T-Padres for $20.5 million — a number we’ve heard from several owners. Assuming the team basically broke even the last two years in Tucson, they’ll show a nice little profit.)

In recent weeks opposition to the plan to raise the local hotel tax by two percentage points to pay for a $50-million new ballpark on the current CIty Hall site has emerged, through it’s not clear how much of it is local El Paso politics and how much of it relates to the actual proposal. Foster told El Paso Inc. the opposition was not a surprise:

“I think opposition is to be expected,” Foster said. “We would like nothing more than for everybody to be supportive, but that is not the case.”

Indeed, there are some valid reasons to oppose the deal: it’s a lot of money for a single downtown project, and it leaves the location of a future City Hall hanging. Even though there’s a petition drive launched, it doesn’t appear to have enough steam to derail the process.

Under a ballpark plan passed by the city, a new $50-million ballpark could open for the 2014 season.

RELATED STORIES: Opposition to El Paso ballpark emergesHoteliers: We don’t want to pay for new El Paso ballparkEl Paso group: we’re one step closer to buying PCL teamPacific Coast League expected to decide El Paso bid for baseball this week; El Paso: Let’s sell Cohen Stadium to Tigua tribeT-Padres back in Kino Stadium for 2013One side effect of new El Paso ballpark: return of UTEP baseballEl Paso ownership group pitches PCLEl Paso approves ballpark for Triple-A teamFirst look: El Paso ballpark renderingsDiablos casualty of new El Paso ballparkDowntown ballpark planning moving forward in El PasoEl Paso to debate ballpark bond issueEl Paso group seeking downtown ballpark, T-PadsMoorad to Escondido: We need quick action on ballparkObstacles to new ballparks in California: not as bleak as expectedEscondido moving forward with business park on proposed ballpark propertyCity, not Moorad group, to acquire Escondido landEscondido mayor: Time to scrap new-ballpark planMoorad: Leaving Padres in Tucson a possibilityEscondido ballpark vote put off indefinitelyEscondido ballpark vote delayed;State government could kill Escondido T-Pods ballparkNew for 2011: Tucson Padres;Escondido approves Triple-A ballpark — with reservationsMoorad group, Escondido sign MOU for new ballparkEscondido council fills vacancy in advance of ballpark voteCrunch time for new Escondido ballparkPadres raise ante in Escondido ballpark negotiationsEscondido ballpark vote delayed again; new council will decidePadres make it official: Beavers to Tucson in 2011Election shows mixed support for new Escondido ballparkTuesday elections could determine fate of BevosBevos to Tucson for 2011Escondido ballpark vote delayed after pollution found at siteFate of Bevos in the air until November, maybe DecemberPadres pitch one-sided lease to EscondidoEscondido: Show us some money, PadresEscondido in, San Marcos out of Bevos ballpark mix


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