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County Approves Pueblo Ballpark Resolutions

Pueblo Ballpark rendering

Pueblo County commissioners voted Monday to advance two resolutions for a proposed ballpark project in Pueblo, which is being discussed to lure the Orem Owlz (Rookie; Pioneer League).

In June, Owlz owner Jeff Katofsky revealed that he is seeking to move his team to Pubelo, CO, where a new ballpark would be constructed as part of a larger development project. Discussions over the proposal are continuing, but Pueblo County took a step forward on Monday by approving two resolutions relating to the development proposal.

That included a resolution allowing for environmental studies on any properties the county could acquire as part of the project. In addition, another resolution clears the way for a plan to reimburse Pueblo’s Urban Renewal Authority for work the agency does in outlining a tax increment financing (TIF) area for the project. Commissioners Terry Hart and Sal Pace voted for the resolutions, with commissioner Garrison Ortiz voting no on both. More from The Pueblo Chieftain:

The county will hire LT Environmental Inc., an engineering and consulting firm that has experience in providing environmental studies, for $34,500.

The county will receive environmental engineering, scientific, regulatory, technical, procurement and remediation management services performed on certain properties that may be acquired and developed by the county.

Specifically, the county wants to know whether there are any environmental issues associated with the properties that would prohibit redevelopment by the county on a cost, schedule and liability-prevention basis.

Under a memorandum of understanding Pace and Hart voted for last month, the county will work with the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority to create YES Pueblo Tax Increment Financing areas, from which the county will capture sales, lodging and property taxes that will be used to pay the debt service for the stadium.

Not every Pueblo government body has signed off on the deal: the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority did not endorse the plan and instead took a neutral position, questioning whether the timeline for ballpark construction and youth-sports development were realistic.

Dubbed the YES (Youth Entertainment and Sports) project, the proposal calls for a new ballpark and surrounding development. Under the funding model for the proposed facility, Pueblo County would issue taxable certificates of participation for up to $25 million, to be backed by TIF. 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. Katofsky, meanwhile, would develop three hotels in the surrounding area that could serve visitors to the ballpark and tournament attendees at six nearby youth sports fields that would be funded separately from the MiLB facility.

If the project is approved, the Owlz could move to Pueblo by the 2020 season.

Rendering courtesy Youth Entertainment Sports Pueblo.

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