Plans for a new ballpark in Bellmead, TX have been unveiled, and the vision could come to fruition by 2018.
Bellmead, which is part of the Waco Metropolitan Area, is being targeted as one of six charter markets for the upstart Southwest League of Professional Baseball. The independent circuit is headed by Mark Schuster and his organization, Ventura Sports Group.
Though smaller than some of the ballparks that have opened in recent years, the Bellmead venue features some of the elements that are common in design trends. It will seat about 2,000 fans, plus general admission sections in the form of berm seating, along with group and premium areas. Bellmead’s facility would also be built to host non-gameday events such as soccer and concerts, the latter of which would be able to accommodate around 10,000 fans.
To that end, some of the key parameters for the ballpark are in place. The biggest part of the equation for Schuster and his group will be to line up the funding for the facility. More from the Waco Tribune:
“We have to get this thing built,” [field manager Stan] Hough said. “Right now the public side has put forth their finances and the land. Now it’s up to us, with the private equity, to come up with it so that we can do this. We’re well on our way to getting that done.
“The league wants at least 20 percent local ownership, so basically it’s an open deal. Anyone that is interested in investing should inquire, because it’s going to be a pretty good investment.”
Two prospective investors took part in Tuesday’s press conference. Billy Martin Jr. and David Mantle, the sons of former New York Yankees teammates Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle, shared a humorous anecdote about their fathers with the crowd. Later they met with local fans and city officials.
Martin, who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said he hasn’t yet signed a contract to invest in the team and could best be described as “a league adviser.” But he said he is enthused about Waco’s potential.
“I drove around today, and it’s really impressive to me what’s been going on here,” Martin said. “I’ve always loved Waco. It’s the kind of town I’d like to live in. … Just driving around today, I think baseball will do very well here.”
A target date for the start of construction is early next year. Under that timeline, the ballpark would open when the league begins play in late April of 2018.
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