Friday, September 14, 2007

Final Season At Concrete Block Assured

Stadium lease renewed for Wizards '08 season

"The Memorial Coliseum board of trustees approved a one-year lease extension Thursday for the Fort Wayne Wizards.

The extended lease ends Sept. 30, 2008, to carry the local Class A minor league baseball team through next season. Team officials want to begin the 2009 season playing in a downtown stadium that is part of Harrison Square."

"Lease negotiations previously included a longer lease with possible improvements to the 15-year-old stadium. But when Hardball purchased the Wizards those negotiations stopped, board President Mac Parker said."

"Coliseum officials have plans in the works to raze the current stadium in 2009, after the new ballpark opens. The stadium would likely be replaced with additional parking and possibly a retention pond, Coliseum General Manager Randy Brown had said previously."


ChadGramling said...

While I openly support HS and the development of a downtown park, I still think destroying Memorial Stadium is passing upon an opportunity and downright silly. The park is still usable for other purposes. If someone were to bring in a Vintage Base Ball League team (maybe call them the Kekiongas?) and/or a National Pro Fastpitch team, it would further enhance the reputation of the city as a minor league sports town (even though the NPF league is technically a "Major" league and VBBL is more independant). It would also provide an additional sports entertainment option when the Wizards are out of town.

John B. Kalb said...

What makes anyone believe that the Wizards will be playing at a new stadium in 2009? The way things are being delayed, they will be lucky to be playing in other than Memorial Stadium in 2010! John B. Kalb

Richard said...

What is being delayed that prevents construction of the ballpark?

John B. Kalb said...

Richard - They do not have the money!!! They are short at least $50 million. Witness the public hearing at 4:30 this Monday prior to the Redevelopment Commissions monthly meeting - topic? Discuss Tax Increment Revenue Bonds and bond anticipation notes in an aggregate principle amount not to exceed $18 million. After this public hearing, the resolution needs to go back to city council for final OK before bonds and/or notes can be sold or signed. They cannot break ground until this financing is approved!
In addition, our planning Commission laid an obligation on Redevelopment to review each element of the project as it proceeds and get their continuing approval to carry-on. Per Leatherman, this alone will add a month to the cycle.
We foresee major roadblocks to the Harrison Square project in the next couple of weeks - more on that later. John B. Kalb

Jeff Pruitt said...


We've had multiple groups look at the possible reuse of Memorial Stadium and both concluded that it would operate at a significant annual loss...