Regina city council will face a figurative full count when they gather in Henry Baker Hall tomorrow to discuss the idea of funding a feasibility study for a new baseball stadium
13 delegates are signed up to speak to councillors on the October 27 agenda topic, which comes with a recommended action of denying funding courtesy Regina’s executive committee.
“The City of Regina is long overdue for a primary baseball stadium to host the Regina Red Sox as the main tenant as well as many other baseball programs,” said one of those delegates in a pre-written submission – Baseball Sask Executive Director Mike Ramage.
“The current location of Currie Field (built in 1968) has been outgrown by the Regina Red Sox and a new stadium would offer a great facility to host provincial, regional, national and international championships in the future.”
Other delegates include members from the Regina Red Sox and Living Sky Sports and Entertainment (LSSE), the two organizations which first approached the city about building a new stadium after committing to work together towards replacing 53-year-old Currie Field.
Councillors will be unlikely to play ball, though, if the innings of the October 6 Executive Committee meeting are any indication.
The committee, which includes all of the councillors who will be present at city hall Wednesday, voted 7-3 against signing a letter of intent that would have committed up to $100,000 in city funding to a feasibility study on a new ballpark.
Ward 2 Councillor Bob Hawkins voiced opposition to the idea, suggesting the city has better ways to spend that money, and creating the voted-upon motion to recommend the city skip out on the potential funding contribution.
“We’re committed to community wellness and the environment, but this is not the moment to invest in $100,000, which right now, is just a dream.” suggested Hawkins during the meeting.
The city’s Recreation Master Plan ranks investment in ball diamonds as seventeenth on its list of outdoor amenities spending priorities.
If council decides to approve the letter of intent, the feasibility study would be partially funded by both the Regina Red Sox and LSSE.
City Manager Chris Holden noted on October 6 that noted that the city would take on a significant share of costs since it would eventually be a city-owned facility.
City funding would go towards things like a needs assessment, economic impact assessment study, concept plans, analysis of preferred site locations, capital and operating costs, financing and funding options.
Initial construction cost estimates for a 3500 seat stadium are between $20 million and $25 million, according to the city.
Speaking on October 6, LSSE Founder Alan Simpson expressed disappointment with the decision and said he believes the city is missing out on a chance for revitalization.
“It takes special groups to do special things like this. Quite obviously, the City of Regina does not share the same vision as LSSE and the Red Sox, so we move on,” Simpson said, adding that the Dewdney Avenue railyards have been identified by LSSE as an ideal location for a new stadium.
“It can act as quite an economic cornerstone for the Dewdney Avenue entertainment district and revitalize a downtown core which is in dire need of a lot of work.”
The council meeting begins at 1 p.m.