A proposed Bellmead ballpark for the Waco BlueCats (independent; Southwest League) cleared a hurdle Saturday, when voters approved a funding plan to cover future facility maintenance.
The Waco suburb of Bellmead has been pitched on a new ballpark for the BlueCats of the upcoming independent Southwest League, a circuit conceived by Mark Schuster and the Ventura Sports Group. A plan for funding future maintenance of the $12-million facility was placed on a referendum, as voters considered whether to approve a two-percent venue tax that would be added onto the city’s existing hotel occupancy tax to cover future upkeep.
That referendum took place on Saturday, and the proposal passed by a wide margin. However, the tax will not go into effect unless the ballpark is constructed. More from the Waco Tribune-Herald:
There were 258 people, or 75 percent, who voted in support of a venue tax that would increase the city’s hotel occupancy tax from 7 percent to 9 percent. City leaders believe the move will generate about $120,000 per year.
Despite community support, the tax will not go into effect unless the proposed $12 million stadium is built. Dirt has not turned on the proposed site at Loop 340 and Research Boulevard, and a league has not yet formed for the proposed BlueCats team.
The Southwest League of Professional Baseball approached the city in 2016 with the concept for a new independent professional baseball league.
Revenue collected from the tax would go toward future work on the venue. The money will not be part of the $4 million the city proposes contributing to the stadium’s construction.
Three teams have been announced for the Southwest League so far, including the BlueCats, the Royse City Griffins, and the Joplin Miners. Joplin, MO is the only one of those cities that is located outside of Texas. The circuit has planned to launch with six teams.
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