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City Endorses Pueblo Ballpark Proposal

Pioneer League

Further discussion is needed, but the Pueblo City Council voted Monday to endorse a proposal for a new ballpark to house a Rookie-level Pioneer League team. 

There have been discussions about building a new ballpark in downtown Pueblo, with the proposed facility intended to bring a Pioneer League team to the city. Under a funding proposal from Pueblo County, the county will issue taxable certificates of participation for up to $25 million, to be backed by tax increment financing. The county is proposing to assume all of the debt risk, but has asked the city to provide 3% of its 3.7% sales and use tax plus 4.3% of its lodging tax revenue generated in the area for 25 years.

A developer involved in the project–whose identity has not been revealed publicly–would move the Pioneer League team to Pubelo and construct three new hotels with a combined 300 rooms near the ballpark. The privately financed hotels would accommodate visitors to the ballpark and tournament attendees at a nearby sports complex that would be funded separately from the MiLB facility. This plan has not been finalized and more discussion is expected to take place, but the Pubelo City Council took a notable step on Monday by unanimously backing a resolution to endorse the proposal. More from The Pueblo Chieftian:

Commissioner Terry Hart emphasized the resolution that council approved wasn’t a final decision, but it was clear county officials had persuaded council members to endorse the project to this point.

Councilman Mark Aliff said the stadium would become a “crown jewel” of the community.

District 2 Councilman Larry Atencio said it would be good for economic development while Council Bob Schilling said the county only wanted a gesture of support and city taxpayers won’t be at risk.

Councilman Dennis Flores said the team owner would be investing $55 million in the stadium project. And he said the Pueblo Economic Development Corp. had checked his finances.

Should it move forward, the new Pubelo ballpark would become the home of a Pioneer League team needing a new facility in the next two-to-three years because of lease issues. Furthermore, it would give the circuit another club in its eastern footprint, as the Helena Brewers are set to relocate to Colorado Springs in 2019.

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