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City gets scout report on proposed ballpark

Photo courtesy MGN Online
Photo courtesy MGN Online
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SAN ANTONIO - City leaders are getting advice from the big leagues like the L.A. Dodgers on building a proposed $75 million baseball park.

Here's the pitch: lure a Minor League Triple-A team from Colorado and build the downtown ballpark by 2019.

"Any big idea like this, people should be asking tough questions," Mayor Ivy Taylor says.

The city hopes to use the ballpark as a catalyst for downtown development, but the lineup card is still filled with questions about the field of dreams.

"You do build it and they will come," former El Paso city manager Joyce Wilson says. She succeeded in bringing Triple-A baseball to her community.

"To establish itself as part of a downtown renaissance - I think that's really been the focus of my work," says L.A. Dodgers executive Janet Marie Smith.

Both women spoke in San Antonio Tuesday at a luncheon with local architects. They also toured potential ballpark sites with city leaders.

"I think there are a couple of them that would be really attractive, high visibility, highly impactful for the area," Wilson says.

Possibilities include the Institute of Texan Cultures in the heart of downtown, near development at San Pedro Creek like Fox Tech High School, or - borrowing from the Alamodome's playbook - using a new ballpark to anchor older neighborhoods.

"If you have opportunities to work with a private developer and get a public-private partnership where you can leverage private funds and not make it solely a city-supported facility, I think that will serve you better down the road," Wilson says.

Call it a scout report as city leaders learn how to play ball.

"So we can protect our tax dollars and do the best investment and get the best bang for our buck," Mayor Taylor says.

As research continues on location and funding, city leaders also need to figure out who approves the final deal: city council, or the people through a public vote.


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