Milwaukie (Ore.) has a week to decide if a new ballpark for a summer-collegiate West Coast League team is in the city’s future — or whether a team is unable to justify the revenue necessary for a large-scale project.
Spurned by the short-season Northwest League, the city has turned to the WCL as a possible tenant for what’s turning out to be a 2,000-seat facility, down from the 5,000 or so seats originally envisioned for a pro team. That the WCL will generate far less in revenue than a pro team is a given; how much less will be revealed by next Tuesday, when the city council meets to discuss the issue. A plan to borrow money for a ballpark must be approved by August 23 in order to make the fall ballot; hence the rush to decide on the fate of ballpark that could open in 2014 or 2015.
Part of the issue: along with the ballpark, Milwaukie will need to invest in street changes in order to make the proposed ballpark site work, we’ve been told, so it’s not simply a matter of just throwing down a field and grandstand and welcoming a WCL team. Some councillors were talking about spending between $10 million and $12 million for a new ballpark; we don’t think it’s very likely a summer-collegiate team can generate the kind of economic activity it would take to pay off those bonds. A more reasonable goal: between $3 million and $4 million. Still, some in Milwaukie are really hot for baseball, so they may carry the day.
RELATED STORIES: Milwaukie to study impact of summer-collegiate baseball; West Coast League to Milwaukie? Highly unlikely; Milwaukie: We expect ballpark deal by end of July; Debate continues: Can Portland support two short-season team?; Milwaukie, Northwest League discussing team, ballpark; Hillsboro approves offer sheet to Yakima Bears; Hillsboro set to vote on new ballpark; Milwaukie will delay decision; Milwaukie advances, Hillsboro retreats in Portland-area ballpark race; Yakima County: We’ll discuss ballpark upgrades; Plan B for Bears: Work on Yakima ballpark plan; Admissions tax voted down in Clark County; Milwaukie seeks public input on new ballpark; Milwaukie moves ahead with ballpark-feasibility study; Clark County postpones ballpark hearing; County scales back commitment to Portland-area ballpark; Competing ballpark plans in Portland; New Portland-area ballpark could provide economical bump: study; Clark County reverses course; will exclusively negotiate with Bears; Clark County passes on exclusive negotiations with Bears; opposition to new ballpark rises; Funding plan emerges for new Clark County ballpark;Yakima Bears to Portland area
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.