August 12, 2019 8:00 am
Updated: August 12, 2019 10:02 pm

Edmonton ballpark questions highlight upcoming Rossdale debate

WATCH ABOVE: The Edmonton Prospects' 2019 season came to an end after the Okotoks Dawgs knocked them out of the playoffs this weekend. As Quinn Phillips explains, it remains to be seen if the team will continue to play home games at RE/MAX Field.

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There is a very complicated weaving of a multitude of projects that could dot Edmonton’s Rossdale area in the coming years. Leading off is a lease for the ballpark that is reportedly now up for grabs.

Patrick Cassidy, the owner of the Edmonton Prospects ball team, gave a very strong hint over the weekend that the team won’t be back in the river valley next year because of lease issues. Another ownership group, led by former Oiler Randy Gregg, is waiting in the wings.

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READ MORE: Edmonton won’t renew RE/MAX Field agreement with Prospects after 2019 baseball season

That’s the starting point for a complicated discussion city councillors will have about a host of things to consider for West Rossdale. When regular council business resumes after summer recess, councillors will review what’s known as the River Crossing.

Cassidy took to Twitter in the hours before his Western League team hosted the Okotoks Dawgs in the playoffs.

“Don’t want to be overly dramatic but tonight’s game down at RE/MAX could very realistically be last ever for PROSPECTS and WCBL baseball at RE/MAX Field.”

The Prospects even offered some team-design merchandise at a 10 per cent discount.

An email from the city’s communications staff confirmed legal discussions have been underway.

“Yes, we are engaged in arbitration over some contractual issues related to the current agreement, but that said, we are unable to comment because the matter is in arbitration,” wrote Lori Yanish.

LISTEN BELOW: Councillor Andrew Knack joins the 630 CHED Afternoon News

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Details of the dispute remain private.

“I actually don’t know. Not every aspect of the licensing agreement was being filled,” said Councillor Andrew Knack — the extent he could share.

“We didn’t go into details of everything that was included in that statement but I think that’s part of why there was a conversation about going back out to tender. But no, I’m unaware of what exactly they went to arbitration on, or if there has been any specific resolution.”

READ MORE: Councillor sees Edmonton gondola as potential key to Rossdale development

Discussions date back to late May when a council committee was talking baseball.

Even one of the proponents from Prairie Sky Gondola, unprompted, brought up the subject of baseball. Jeffrey Hansen Carlson broached the topic out of curiosity.

Watch below (May 23): The city is revealing more details about its redevelopment for the community of Rossdale. Edmontonians will be thrilled to hear the vision includes opening the doors to the old power plant and nixing any demolition talk about the ball diamond. Erik Backstrom is a senior planner with the City of Edmonton and joins Gord Steinke to talk about the plans and a timeline.

Knack said council has a lot of topics to weave together on what could be a growing master plan when the River Crossing agenda item comes before them later this fall.

“Craft breweries, local restaurants… Could you have this gondola as a great way to connect to and from? Combine that with residential.

“I don’t know yet and I think that’s the part of where council has to come in and have this conversation about the vision of the entire site overall.”

READ MORE: Event at Rossdale power plant has people buzzing about building’s potential

Knack said even the so far “one-off” event in the old power plant that EPCOR hosted in the spring is something they’ll have to consider.

“There’s been a conversation about the power plant and all these spaces. How do you bring this all together?”

Not to mention upscale real estate. Even a canal that was once talked about.

“I can say that I have heard from a couple of different folks who are still very interested in the potential for that area for bringing in new people,” Knack said.

“We need to go through this River Crossing plan to make sure we all have a clear idea of what we want to see there, and then from there, potentially going out to the broader community and saying, let’s now make this happen.”

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