All signs point to the City of Fayetteville and the Houston Astros reaching a memorandum of understanding (MOU), as city officials are expressing confidence.
Fayetteville and the Astros are working on an MOU that will provide a framework for an agreement on a new, High-A Carolina League ballpark. To this point, it appears that Fayetteville has a site in downtown near the Prince Charles Hotel and a blueprint as to what the project would look like. Using Columbia’s Spirit Communications Park as a model, Fayetteville is seeking to build a downtown ballpark in hopes of generating additional development, and local officials recently toured the Columbia facility.
The next major step in the project is the MOU, which has a deadline of August 19 for completion. At a meeting on Monday, those involved in negotiating the deal indicated that it will be complete by the deadline. In fact, the mayor and council took the step of scheduling a public hearing on August 11, a gathering that could include the release of more details. More from the Fayetteville Observer:
“Before we go in the final stretch of the MOU,” Mayor Nat Robertson said after the meeting, “we are looking for citizen engagement, so that we can try to measure the temperature of our residents for baseball in the community.”
Next week’s hearing will be the first time council members have sought public comment about the potential venture since they began negotiating in June. The two sides have set an Aug. 19 deadline.
After Monday’s work session, Councilman Jim Arp, who is on the city’s negotiating team, said negotiations are “between 85 and 90 percent done.”
“I think we are very close to having final terms with the Astros on the MOU,” Arp said.
Having at least some portions of the MOU in place by August 11 would seemingly be the goal. That would give Fayetteville a little bit more than a week between presenting the MOU and deciding whether to finalize the agreement.
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