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Lubbock Passes on Ballpark Vote

Texas League 2016

A deadline to place an initiative for a new Texas League on the ballot has passed in Lubbock without a formal filing, clouding the city’s pursuit of a team.

Led by attorney David Nelson, a group of supporters in Lubbock were seeking to place a referendum on the November ballot for voters to approve a ballpark funding plan. The proposal would have called for increasing the hotel/motel tax rate from 7% to 9%, which would have covered the public contribution toward a ballpark for San Antonio Missions, who will be on the market if San Antonio does indeed attract a Class AAA Pacific Coast League team.

Nelson’s proposal hit the news recently, and was met with some skepticism from some Lubbock officials who felt that the process was being rushed. The initiative also drew some opposition from local groups such as the Lubbock Hotel Motel Association, which was not in favor of the proposed tax increase.

The proposal was also pitted Lubbock in direct competition with Amarillo, who is still working on a concept to attract the Missions. Despite this round of setbacks, Nelson says that he will continue to work on the plan. More from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

Nelson, who is out of the office this week, sent an email to A-J Media saying the project is gaining momentum. He said he plans on meeting with the council again and scheduling a work session when the feasibility study is completed. He said he has also been invited to make a presentation to the Lubbock Hotel Motel Association.

Nelson has made his case by discussing some of the potential fiscal impacts his organization’s studies predict the baseball team would have in Lubbock. Just in 2019, which is when the proposed stadium would open, the study shows direct spending on things like retail and food would increase about $5.5 million a year in Lubbock. It also shows local tax collection increasing $152 million over a 30-year period after the stadium opens.

The story goes on to report that officials in Amarillo are still confident that they can reach an agreement with the Missions owners Elmore Sports Group, if the plan in San Antonio goes through. In June, Elmore opted to not sign a memorandum of understanding with Amarillo, stating that they will wait until the project in San Antonio proceeds before committing the franchise to another city.

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