WICHITA, Kan. - After three years of talks and negotiations, Wichita mayor Jeff Longwell made the official announcement Thursday that a Triple-A baseball team is seeking to relocate to Wichita. The New Orleans Baby Cakes are currently affiliated with the Miami Marlins and they are part of the Pacific Coast League.
The announcement was made at Lawrence Dumont Stadium with city council members, Governor Jeff Colyer and local business and community leaders attending.
The team has filed a Relocation Application with Minor League Baseball. The move will have to be approved by Minor League Baseball and the Pacific Coast League.
It will also have to be reviewed by the commissioner. A decision is expected later this year.
The city plans to demolish Lawrence Dumont to make way for a new stadium that will include modern amenities, a museum and retail space. STAR bonds, which will be supported by sales tax revenues from the neighborhood, will be used to fund the project.
“Triple-A baseball is coming to Wichita because of who we are today and because of who we aspire to be tomorrow,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. “We’ve worked tirelessly on this deal. It’s not just about another great quality of life amenity, or baseball: this is about investing in our city and continuing to make Wichita a regional destination.”
The mayor also displayed renderings of the new stadium that is being planned on the riverfront. He said the plan is to have 7,000 fixed seats with a total capacity that could be up to 11,000.
Governor Colyer worked with state officials to secure the STAR Bond funding. He said the new stadium would be an iconic facility that will also have concerts and special events as well as baseball. The governor said it's an important milestone for Wichita and it's one of the things that makes Wichita a tourist destination.
The Baby Cakes have a lease with their stadium that expires in 2021, but there's no word on when they will make their first appearance in Wichita.
The future of the Wichita Wingnuts remains uncertain. There's no word yet if the team has found a new location to play.