Planning for a new Madison, AL ballpark for the relocating Mobile BayBears (Class AA; Southern League) is advancing, as the city and team’s owners have signed a key agreement.
It was recently indicated that the two sides were close to finalizing their agreement, and that process has taken a step forward. On Tuesday, the City of Madison and BallCorps LLC, the ownership group that purchased the BayBears last year, announced that they had reached a lease, management, and license agreement for the ballpark.
Other tasks must be completed to land the team, but officials are noting that the completion of the lease, management, and license agreement is a significant step in the effort. More from AL.com:
There are still several steps remaining before professional baseball will be played in Madison. Foremost among those are getting permission from the Southern League, Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball to move the Mobile team to Madison.
There are still boxes that need to be checked off in Madison but Mayor Paul Finley said he did not anticipate any sticking points that would derail the deal.
Finley said the Madison city council could give final approval to the deal as soon as the Feb. 26 council meeting.
“We are excited to partner with Ralph Nelson and his team,” Finley said in a statement Tuesday. “City council, mayor and staff have worked earnestly to take appropriate steps for our community to ensure success in this endeavor. After a detailed feasibility study, we are assured that this venture will support not only economic development in the city of Madison, but also create revenue for our school system and infrastructure needs as well.
The new Madison ballpark will be located in the Town Madison development, and is slated to open in time for the 2020 season. Once open, the facility would host the BayBears and be available for a variety of other uses, including concerts, group events and perhaps other sports like pro soccer and high-school football. The BayBears are expected to spend the 2018 and 2019 seasons at their current home in Mobile, Hank Aaron Stadium.
Madison is included in the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, which has not had professional baseball team of its own since the Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League) played their final full season at Joe W. Davis Stadium in 2014.
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