Under a new proposal, a concert promoter will lease Ogren Park at Allegiance Field and book events that provide for more uses in addition to Missoula Osprey (Rookie; Pioneer League) games.
As announced on Monday, Logjam Presents president Nick Checota is seeking to have his firm enter into an agreement with the City of Missoula that will allow it to book and staff concerts and other performances at Ogren Park. Logjam would pay $70,000 annually in its long-term lease, while Mountain Baseball–owner of the Osprey–would pay $40,000 annually in its lease.
Mountain Baseball currently pays $120,000 annually under the terms of a lease agreement signed in 2012 that put the ballpark under city ownership, but officials view the terms as unrealistic and have been looking for more revenue sources from the ballpark. The city had been exploring ideas to lower Mountain Baseball’s annual payments while placing revenue into a fund for ballpark upkeep, and the latest proposal could factor into that plan. More from the Missoulian:
[Missoula Redevelopment Agency director Ellen] Buchanan said in a phone call that there are no other Pioneer League teams that make lease payments that large, calling the price tag “not sustainable on the back of baseball.” She noted that Mountain Baseball always made its payments.
There was an MRA proposal to refinance the debt to lower the lease payments. Gwen Jones, council representative of Ward 3, said that triggered discussions about different business models for the stadium….
The agreement could also direct money into a maintenance fund for the stadium. Originally, a group of local residents, called the Friends of the Civic Stadium, tried to raise money for such a fund, but were unsuccessful. Buchanan said that raised concerns that the city would eventually be handed a large bill when a major repair was required.
Under the agreement with Logjam, the company will pay a percentage of ticket revenue into a maintenance fund for upkeep at the park. The ticket fee will cover the $10,000 difference between the prior lease and the current ones.
The proposal is not finalized. It is currently scheduled to be reviewed by the Administration and Finance Committee on August 1, and would have to go before the full city council from there. Logjam Presents currently controls other venues in the area, but would use Ogren Park for performances too large for those venues and could make changes to the ballpark (such as a new emergency exit in the outfield) that allow it stage concerts as large as 10,000 capacity.