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Waukesha Ballpark Pitch Moves Forward

Northwoods League

On Tuesday, Waukesha, WI officials voted to move forward with discussions over a proposed summer-collegiate Northwoods League ballpark for Mindiola Park.

Waukesha is discussing a plan with Big Top Baseball to establish a new Northwoods League team at the proposed ballpark. A similar effort was previously centered around developing a facility at an existing baseball field at Frame Park, but the two sides pulled the plug on that proposal last month, with public opposition to using the park a factor in that decision.

In the Mindiola Park concept, a new 2,500-seat ballpark would be constructed as part of a $12-million project that includes new turf soccer fields. Waukesha would back its financial contribution through the extension of an existing tax increment financing district. Discussions over this plan will forward as the result of Tuesday’s vote, but Big Top Baseball and local officials will still have to work to finalize a formal agreement. More from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Big Top Baseball would construct the stadium on six acres given to it by the city, but the stadium would end up in city hands at the end of an estimated seven-year development incentive period with the city. Big Top would pay taxes, estimated at $250,000 a year, during that incentive period, then make lease payments to use the facility for up to 20 years.

City Administrator Kevin Lahner explained that the public investment would be financed through the extension of one of the city’s most successful tax-incremental financing districts, in which the Shoppes at Fox River shopping center was born a decade ago.

Using a conservative formula, the park project cost would be paid off in seven years based on anticipated development within the revised TIF district, Lahner said.

Alderman, on a 12-1 vote, approved a resolution giving staff permission to begin the talks with Big Top, though some noted they weren’t necessarily promising they would favor a contract once it is drafted.

Big Top Baseball currently operates the Madison MallardsKenosha KingfishWisconsin Rapids Rafters and the Green Bay Bullfrogs.

RELATED STORIES: Waukesha Ballpark Talks Shift to New SiteNew Waukesha Ballpark is Not Moving ForwardWaukesha Continues to Debate Northwoods League PitchWaukesha Mulls Northwoods League Team, New Ballpark

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