Thirteen delegates stepped up to the plate during a Regina City Council meeting Wednesday afternoon to explain why they think the city should put up money to help fund a feasibility study for a new baseball stadium.
Ultimately, city council voted 7 to 3 in favour of denying to sign a letter of intent that would have committed up to $100,000 in taxpayer money to the study.
Although, immediately after that vote, a motion was put forward for Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) to conduct a quote for the city manager for a needs assessment, in regards to the stadium.
Council voted 10 to 0 in favour of that motion.
“I didn’t like the idea of … killing the idea of a baseball stadium in totality,” said Regina Mayor Sandra Masters.
The Regina Red Sox and a local sporting company called Living Sky Sports Entertainment (LSSE) first approached the city with the idea.
Alan Simpson, founder of the company, said the stadium would mean a lot to the volunteers, players, and baseball fans across the province.
“The reason for it, first and foremost..in my mind is that Currie Field is 60 plus years old,” Simpson said.
“So, the Red Sox and myself felt that it was worthwhile taking a look to see if Regina could catch up to other leagues in the team and get a baseball stadium built,” he added.
If approved, the ballpark would be built by the rail yards on Dewdney Avenue. Simpson said the facility could help to significantly revitalize the area.
The organizations wanted city council to partially pitch in for the study since the stadium would eventually become a city-owned facility.
City manager Chris Holden noted on Oct. 6., during an executive committee meeting, that if the new stadium comes to be, then the city would take on a significant share of costs.
City funding would go toward 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 3,500 seat stadium are between $20 million to $25 million, according to the city.
During the Oct. 6., executive committee meeting, the committee, which includes all of the councillors, voted 7-3 against signing the letter.
Ward 2 Coun. Bob Hawkins voiced opposition to the idea during that meeting and then again on Wednesday, suggesting the city has better ways to spend that money, especially with a handful of other major capital projects taking priority, along with more pressing issues such as climate change and homelessness taking centre stage.
Though, with REAL now coming into the equation, council expects to receive more clarification before the stadium can even become a priority.
“The second motion brought forward by Coun. (Lori) Bresciani was, ‘Let’s just actually look at what the needs assessment is.’ The recreational masterplan clearly outlines the steps we are to take when it comes to recreational facilities and the needs assessment is step one,” Masters explained
The city’s Recreation Master Plan ranks investment in ball diamonds as 17th on its list of outdoor amenities spending priorities.
She adds council is hoping to receive the quote from REAL for the needs assessment by late December.
— with files from Global News’ Connor O’Donovon