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Salinas pitching Bakersfield Blaze on new ballpark

Bakersfield BlazeWith little movement on a new Bakersfield Blaze (High Class A; California League) ballpark, Salinas investors are pitching Blaze ownership on a new ballpark.

Salinas is three-plus hours northwest of Bakersfield, near Monterey and south of Silicon Valley. It’s not a small city — some 154,000 in the county seat of Monterey County — with some very affluent areas in town. Developer Sean Cooley is intrigued by the concept of building a new ballpark as part of a larger development, and he’s got support from Blaze owner D.G. Elmore, who has worked for years on a new-ballpark solution in Bakersfield, with little or no city support. From Monterey County Now:

“Things seem to be coming together there,” Elmore says.

Cooley, also an investor in the stadium, is the force behind the marketplace master plan, which calls for a major revamping of the neighborhood, including relocating the dump and building a new police station on an abandoned county yard. “We think Salinas is a diamond in the rough,” he says.

On Sept. 23, Cooley will ask City Council to extend existing 10-year tax credits for 20 years to help support the stadium plan. He’ll also ask for a promise of police presence at every game, and for the city to commit to co-sponsoring at least 15 non-baseball events.

The project is aggressive: the plan is to seek permission and be able to open for the 2016 season.

RELATED STORIES: Cal League: Blaze out of Bakersfield; Elmore buys back Bakerfield Blaze; New Bakersfield ballpark plans collapse; Bakersfield Blaze unveils plans for new ballpark; Is Bakersfield on cusp of new ballpark?


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