Potter County Memorial Stadium is slated to have a tenant for the next several years, as San Jacinto Christian Academy has signed a lease for the facility.
Potter County Memorial Stadium has an extensive history, as it originally opened in 1949 and has accommodated a variety of affiliated and independent league teams over the years. The Texas League’s Amarillo Gold Sox played there between 1959 and 1982, with independent-league teams (Amarillo Dillas, Amarillo Gold Sox, Amarillo Thunderheads, Texas AirHogs) playing there between 1994 and 2016 (save a one-year break in 2005).
Despite its history, there had been some doubts surrounding the future of Potter County Memorial Stadium. The poor condition of the ballpark was a reason for the end of independent baseball at the facility, and an upcoming downtown Amarillo facility for a Class AA Texas League franchise left officials with questions on how to plan Potter County Memorial Stadium’s future.
For the coming years, the ballpark will have a tenant, as Potter County Commissioners have signed off on a five-year lease with San Jacinto Christian Academy. The school, which had previously subleased the ballpark from Southern Independent Baseball owner Gary Elliston, will continue to host baseball games at the facility, and work with the county to address its condition. More from The Amarillo Globe-News:
Tim Bowels, one of seven SJCA board members, worked with the Potter County Commissioners and Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner on their current lease agreement, which now calls for $7,000 in annual stadium improvements — down significantly from $25,000 under the previous sublease with Elliston, according to Globe-News archives.
“We’re mindful of the fact that it’s the county’s facility and we want to operate with the county’s oversight,” Bowels said of any future ideas for the stadium.
One thing that won’t change, he said, is hosting the annual Coffee Memorial Blood Center Boots vs. Badges softball game.
Under the terms of the new lease agreement, the school will be paying significantly less than when they were subleasing the stadium from Elliston but will still be pouring hard work and resources into repairs and maintenance.
The Texas AirHogs (American Association) were the last professional tenant to use Potter County Memorial Stadium, playing their final season there in 2016. The new downtown Amarillo ballpark–which will be home to the relocating San Antonio Missions (Class AA; Texas League)–is currently scheduled to open in 2019.
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