A proposed renovation of Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts (Low Class A; Midwest League), was approved by a city committee and will be discussed at next Monday’s City Council meeting.
The $22-million proposal has Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson investing $12 million into a new scoreboard and apartments past the outfield wall and the city investing $10.5 million into ballpark improvements, including theater seats (replacing bleachers), upgraded concessions, expanded clubhouses, a new field and a year-round meeting space. The upgrades will also add a true wraparound concourse to the ballpark.
The city’s contribution would come from a continuation of the existing bonding on the ballpark, set to expire next year. In addition, TIF financing to clean up a brownfield site on the ballpark property as well. The city’s committee on development and planning easily passed the proposal:
Councilwoman Jody Washington said she supports the plan 100 percent, and believes it will have a positive economic impact on the Lansing area. Washington is the vice chair of the development and planning committee, and she said they voted on the rezoning of the property north of the ballpark to allow residences in the area.
If this plan passes — and all indications are that it will — you can expect other teams to follow suit, from what we’re told by other owners. Teams have an incentive to attract private development to ballparks, and by combining a private investment like this with public spending, the city receives a nice property-tax hike and the team receives a new wraparound concourse. Win-win,
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