Both Sides of Baseball Park Dispute Put In Last Minute Efforts Before Vote
POSTED: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 9:29pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 8:23am
EL PASO — There are last minute efforts on both sides of the dispute involving a Triple-A baseball park, just a day before the vote at the city council meeting.
Five-hundred baseball park supporters, young and old, gathered in Cleveland Park in downtown El Paso.
"For a great city, it will be the best thing having a baseball team," said 9-year-old Christopher Didonna.
A mother brought her three boys to the rally.
“For us, we would have a great time coming to the games and anytime we've been in any other city, it's usually one of the first things we do is go visit the baseball stadium and for us it would be a sense of pride for people to drive through our city and see that great stadium just off of I-10,” said mother Kirsten Didonna.
Josh Hunt, a member of the MountainStar Sports Group wants to hold the support of city council members.
"What we're looking for is trying to improve our community,” said Hunt. “We want to continue to progress. We want to raise the quality of life we have here."
On Saturday, the MountainStar Sports Group announced they would make changes to the original agreement with the city. It has agreed to remove the non-compete clause, allowing the Diablos to continue playing at Cohen Stadium, that will provide the city continuing rental income from the Diablos. The sports group also agreed to give the city not ten cents per baseball ticket but now 50 cents per ticket.
On Monday, the group released a list showing the last 20 Triple-A baseball stadiums built across the country. MountainStar points out only two of the stadium deals were approved by voters.
City Representative Cortney Niland has been vocal about her support for Triple-A baseball in El Paso.
"Keep the faith and know that as your elected leaders, we have crunched the numbers, we've worked with our staff and made sure that this deal is good for El Paso," said Niland.
The rally didn't come without opposition from protesters though. Many people are against tearing down city hall and others said it should be voter approved.
"The problem with this particular project, this concept is that it's rushed and many of the details don't make sense," said Ron McGinnis.
City Representative Carl Robinson gathered with dozens of his constituents at a northeast YMCA. Most of them were against the ballpark.
"The biggest thing is the cost. We have a functional building, that being the current city hall and the other part of that is that a large expenditure of money like this should be given the opportunity to the voters," said Robinson.