Joplin, MO is slated to pay off debt from a 2015 Joe Becker Stadium renovation later this year, as the Joplin City Council has allowed a plan to move forward.
Prior to the 2015 season, Joe Becker Stadium underwent a $4.7 million renovation to accommodate the newly arrived Joplin Blasters (independent; American Association), who lasted just two seasons before ceasing operations after the 2016 campaign. A professional baseball team has not called the ballpark home in the years since, though Joe Becker Stadium remains operational for the Joplin Outlaws (summer collegiate; MINK League) and high school sports.
The city is moving closer to paying off remaining debt from $2 million in financing for the renovation, as councilmembers agreed Monday to a proposal from a city finance official. Though Monday’s action was technically informal approval, it allows the city to proceed with a plan to pay off the debt in the coming months. More from the Joplin Globe:
The City Council on Monday agreed to a proposal by the finance director, Leslie Haase, to use money in the general fund’s unrestricted fund balance to pay off the remaining debt. The city owes $1.62 million of the $2 million it financed in an effort to enlarge the stadium for use by a professional baseball team.
Haase said that paying off the certificates of participation at the first available date, which is Sept. 1, would save the city $604,000 in interest and fees.
It also reduces the amount of debt payments the city is making in the annual budget. The annual payment on the stadium debt is $150,000.
An ordinance for a formal vote on the plan should be introduced during a city council meeting in the near future.