Pueblo County (Col.) officials are exploring a new downtown ballpark that would be built near the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, presumably to house a Rookie Pioneer League team.
County Commissioners voted yesterday to move forward on a $59,954 contract with Matrix Design Group, Inc. to determine the feasibility of a new ballpark. There’s already a county committee, Operation Home Run, working on the project. The county has $60 million potentially available to fund capital projects, and a new sports complex would presumably be tapped for this sports project.
Why Pioneer League? There’s been a plan floating amongst MiLB owners about Pueblo being part of a reconfiguration that would see the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) relocate to San Antonio or perhaps another market. That would leave Elmore Sports Group free to move the Helena Brewers to Colorado Springs. But Colorado Springs sits far outside the current Pioneer League footprint, so a travel partner would be needed. And there’s another current Pioneer League team that will be looking for a new home in the next four-to-five years because of lease issues. So with a team potentially available, the Pioneer League is the logical tenant.
Nothing is imminent, however, and this initial study is expected to take at least three months. But the project does sound cool: it would also allow the city to reuse the old Downtown Power Stations 5&6 in a Oriole Park-style layout. From the Pueblo Chieftain:
Sean Tapia, the county’s director of facilities, said the group has a genuine interest in preserving the historic Downtown area.
“Operation Home Run is objectively studying the 5&6 site and surrounding sites as a location for a facility to serve both as a youth and professional sports complex,” Tapia said.
“The study will then inform and guide an intentional planning effort whereby Operation Home Run will evaluate if and how and why the 5&6 site can be reused, historically preserved and adopted for the future of Pueblo.”