The Fayetteville City Council is set to consider a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Houston Astros covering a $35 million ballpark for a new High-A Carolina League team at a special Wednesday meeting.
While the MOU is technically nonbinding, it will give the city a clear positive signal as it works on the financing plan for a new ballpark near the Prince Charles Hotel development. But there are still plenty of details to be worked out. From the Fayetteville Observer:
The document would clarify the 15 to 20 areas where the two sides have reached broad agreement. The deal would include the city constructing a stadium with a maximum development budget of $35 million….
The city has not yet released details of the document ahead of Wednesday’s public vote, and most members of the council’s baseball committee have declined to comment about draft terms. The exception is Councilman Larry Wright, a committee member who last week said he hopes the council approves it.
The document may shed light on how the city would finance the stadium. The committee wants Cumberland County to help fund the project.
To say there is a lot riding on this vote is an understatement. If the city moves ahead with a new ballpark, we could see two California League teams move to the Carolina League. We would then also see some other affiliate shifts if two teams move — and another affiliation shifts if a team sale comes through. And, of course, two leagues schedules are left in the lurch as of now. So the fate of multiple MLB and MiLB team affiliations, as well as the future of the Astros farm system, hinges on this decision.
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