Ventura Sports Group CEO Mark Schuster is encouraged by developments in Bellmead, TX where voters approved a funding plan to cover future maintenance of an independent Southwest League ballpark.
Planned by Schuster and the Ventura Sports Group, the Southwest League will count the Waco BlueCats among its teams. The BlueCats have been pitched for a proposed $12-million ballpark in suburban Bellmead that will be designed to host other events, and is expected to anchor a larger development.
Last week, Bellmead voters decided by a wide margin to approve a two-percent venue tax that would be added onto the city’s existing hotel occupancy tax to cover future ballpark upkeep. Technically, the tax will not take effect unless plans for the ballpark move forward, but Schuster believes that the vote bolstered the idea of building the facility in Bellmead. More from the Waco-Tribune Herald:
The election was not necessary to determine whether the projected $12 million stadium would be built, Schuster said. However, the voters’ support reinforces the original decision to build in Bellmead, he said.
The tax will not go into effect until dirt is turned on the stadium proposed for Loop 340 and Research Boulevard. Money collected from the tax would go toward future maintenance of the stadium, if the city ever decides to take ownership from Ventura Sports, Schuster said.
Bellmead city leaders have said they would spend $4 million to help Ventura develop a 3,500-seat stadium and mixed-use “baseball village” on a 13.5-acre city owned plot near the Skate Country roller skating rink. Details still remain sparse as to how a deal will unfold between the city and Ventura, which has owned or co-owned five minor league teams since its formation in 2004.
Bellmead City Manager Bo Thomas said he has been told the league is still in progress and that other teams may soon be announced. But that is all he has heard.
The Southwest League is planning to launch in 2019 with six teams. Thus far, three have been announced. That includes 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.