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Peoria set to discuss Chiefs bailout plan tonight

Peoria ChiefsA proposal to restructure debt on Peoria Chiefs Stadium, home of the Peoria Chiefs (Low Class A; Midwest League), will be discussed by the Peoria City Council tonight.

The city is being asked to forgive $1.2 million on Chiefs ballpark debt as part of a larger debt-restructuring deal, with private lenders retiring and restructuring much more in debt. If the city passes on the debt restructuring, proponents say, the Chiefs could be sold and moved to satisfy lenders. There is $4.2 million of debt remaining on the ballpark, and the team has faced some financial issues in the last year, paying almost $18,000 in penalties on late property-tax payments.

Many councilmembers declined to comment on how they’d vote; apparently information is still being delivered to them in anticipation of tonight’s meeting. But one thing is sure: without the public relief, there’s the very strong plan the whole restructuring plan could be scrapped and the team could end up being sold, with the chance the team leaves Peoria. From the Peoria Journal-Star:

Team officials and others have said the plan will be scrapped — and local professional baseball might be in jeopardy – if the council doesn’t approve.

“I’m hoping the council sees the value in making sure we keep baseball here,” Mayor Jim Ardis said late last week….

If the Chiefs don’t survive, [councilman Chuck] Weaver said he’d like to know how long the ballpark would be dormant and what the odds are of Peoria regaining a franchise. The city’s obligation related to the $1.2 million, regardless of what happens, also is a concern.

RELATED STORIES: Chiefs face financial problems on ballpark debt


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