City council approves baseball agreements

A settlement with the Wingnuts is also approved

WICHITA, Kan - The Wichita city council has approved two early agreements with a Triple-A team from New Orleans for the construction and management of a new baseball stadium. 

Two memorandums of understanding were presented to the council Tuesday by assistant city manager Scot Rigby. He said work will now begin on a formal agreement to bring back to the council for approval. 

The memorandums outline the responsibilities for the city and the team in the development of a new stadium.  The city would design and build a multi-sport stadium to host a Pacific Coast League team, and the cost of the facility would not exceed $75 million.   Rigby said the stadium would have 15 to 18 suites, 6,500 to 7,000 fixed seats, and party or group areas that would have a capacity of up to 3,500 people for a total capacity of 10,000 seats for minor league baseball games.   The team agrees to relocate to Wichita and provide $5 to 7 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment for the ballpark.

The city is planning to use STAR bonds, supported by sales tax revenues from the project district, to fund the cost of the stadium.  A preliminary design was revealed last week when the city announced that the New Orleans team would be moving to Wichita, but Rigby said that's an early concept that will change as the project goes through the design process. 

Rigby said the city plans to go out for bids this month on the demolition of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, with the demolition beginning in October.  Design work will begin on a new stadium with a plan to begin construction next spring, and the new stadium should be ready in March, 2020. 

The city council also approved a settlement agreement with the Wichita Wingnuts for the early termination of the team's lease for Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.   Rigby said the value of the settlement is based on the number of years remaining in the lease and the anticipated cost of repairs and replacements over the remaining years.  The $2.2 million settlement will be paid in installments through 2026, and it will be funded with management agreement payments made to the city by the Triple-A team. 


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