The cost of a new Amarillo ballpark could be $48.4 million — as opposed to the original $32 million estimate for an independent ballpark — if the city wants to attract affiliated baseball.
The higher cost covers the features specified for a Class AA ballpark by professional baseball. A nonbinding resolution passed last fall saw voters approve a new downtown ballpark with a $32 million budget, but it’s up to the City Council as to the final budget and funding mechanisms. And with the potential of landing a Class AA Texas League — however slight — some City Council members want to roll the dice and see what happens.
The higher cost — as well as a financial rationale for spending more on the ballpark to attract affiliated baseball — came after a report from Rich Neumann, senior vice president of major projects at Brailsford & Dunlavey. The original scope of the project was limited to independent baseball, but a second presentation covered affiliated ball, its relative stability and how investing in an affiliated ballpark was a safer bet than investing in an independent ballpark. From Amarillo.com:
Councilman Elisha Demerson said the presentation swayed him.
“Given the cost-benefit analysis you made … I would like to at least explore it.”
Councilman Mark Nair said he worried about what the least risky path to take would be.
“If there’s another choice that gives us less risk, and I’m hearing that’s affiliated baseball,” he said. “I struggle with spending more than we told the public.”
That higher cost estimate also includes a $3.8 million contingency fund to cover overruns.
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