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Boise Ballpark Could Obtain Auditorium District Funds

Boise Hawks

Backers of a new Boise Hawks (Short Season A; Northwest League) ballpark could seek auditorium district funding, as discussions over the potential funding source are underway. 

Hawks ownership has been plotting the plans for a proposed ballpark that would replace Memorial Stadium. Greenstone Properties–where Hawks co-owner Chris Schoen is a partner–is working on a proposal to build the facility as part of a larger development on a site in the city’s West End, with the Hawks and professional soccer among the uses pitched for the potential venue.

There is currently not a funding proposal attached to the plan, but it appears that Greenstone is exploring the potential use of revenue from the Greater Boise Auditorium District (GBAD), as a representative of the firm met with GBAD officials on Thursday. While there is not a commitment to use GBAD funds in the project, the agency presents some potential as a partner. It could legally undertake ballpark construction, has bonding authority, and is designed to work on economic projects. More from the Idaho Statesman:

Greenstone Properties, which first proposed the baseball and soccer stadium two years ago, has been silent for the past year as it worked behind the scenes to get the project off the ground. On Thursday, a Boise lawyer representing Greenstone met with the board of the Greater Boise Auditorium District to begin discussions.

The lawyer, Geoffrey Wardle, would not say what the discussions are about. Neither did anyone at GBAD. But GBAD is legally authorized to build and operate sports stadiums. The district says its mission is to promote growth and economic development in the Boise area, and it has more than $16 million in cash on hand to invest in whatever its elected board wants.

GBAD also can sell bonds to raise money for the stadium. Local-government bond sales have been part of Greenstone’s plans to help pay for the $50 million stadium all along. But Greenstone previously expected to turn to Boise’s urban renewal agency, the Capital City Development Corp., for that.

A new state law this year threw a possible wrench into that part of Greenstone’s plan by requiring a citywide election on any municipal building project costing more than $1 million which uses at least 51 percent nonfederal public money that includes any amount of urban renewal money.

Greenstone has been given the go ahead to enter into negotiations with GBAD and the agency has formed a committee to explore the idea, but both sides are emphasizing that there is no formal proposal in place. GBAD funding is generated by hotel tax revenue within district boundaries.

In addition to the Hawks, the proposed facility would be home to a planned professional soccer club in Division II USL Championship that would also be backed by Agon.

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