To address the long-term status of their home ballpark, the Kane County Cougars (Low A; Midwest League) are pitching a public-private partnership to fund future upgrades.
Cougars owner Dr. Bob Froehlich is looking to move forward with a plan that calls for $9 million in upgrades to Northwestern Medicine Field. To be spent over a 15-year window, the funding would include contributions from both from the Cougars and the Kane County Forest Preserve, which owns the ballpark. In that scenario, the Cougars would contribute $300,000 annually to Northwestern Medicine Field upgrades over a 15-year period, amounting to a total contribution of $4.5 million. During that same 15-year window, the Kane County Forest Preserve would match funding committed by the team.
A major component of the plan calls for reworking some terms of their Cougars’ lease to reduce their annual rent, while stipulating contributions from both the team and the Kane County Forest Preserve. More from The Kane County Chronicle:
The presentation states that in 2014, the Cougars’ base rent was reduced to $700,000 from $1.1 million. The rent reduction allowed for that rent to cover principal and interest payments on general obligation bonds for the stadium.
Since the debt has been re-financed, the payment for both is now down to just over $600,000 a year, according to the presentation.
Calling it a two-part simple plan, Froehlich’s proposal would pass on the savings from the refinancing to the Cougars and reduce the base rent to $600,000.
The second part would be a joint $9 million renovation and improvement campaign over the next 15 years, in which Froehlich would spend a minimum of $300,000 each year for a total of $4.5 million.
That money would be a credit against its base rent, thus reducing it to $300,000 annually, while the forest preserve would match the $300,000 a year for 15 years, for $4.5 million, the presentation stated.
Currently, the Cougars pay an rent annual rent of $700,000, plus 12 percent of gross revenue beyond the first $8.25 million generated. Froehlich claims to have spent close to $2 million in ballpark upgrades during his ownership tenure, with those funds directed to improvements such as concrete repairs and an upgraded sound system. Northwestern Medicine Field originally opened for the Cougars in 1991.