AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Amarillo City Council decides to look into attracting a Double-A baseball club to the city.
Consultants Brailsford and Dunlavey met with the council on Tuesday to present more details concerning the construction of a ballpark that could accommodate that kind of team.
The proposed a budget of $48.4 million dollars - that's well above the $32 million approved by a referendum vote in November.
While the price tag is high, the benefits of this plan are notable: 341 annual jobs supported, and Amarillo could gain more than $25 million per year in economic benefits.
Revenue would come in from ticket sales and an estimated 9,300 hotel rooms rented out to visiting teams.
"That regional money that comes into our city through sales tax has helped us keep property tax down," said Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole. "It's important that we keep that growth as long as we can, but it has to make economic sense. It has to be something where it doesn't put the city in too much debt. So we'll look at that and see what it is and get an answer back and see what we're going to do."
This budget would fund a stadium designed to hold 7,430 fans in areas ranging from grassy picnic spots to club seats to boxed suites.
The city council is now committing to research the feasibility of funding such a large project.
The Local Government Corporation (LGC) will work with the Interim City Manager Terry Childers over the next few weeks to see if the project can be completed without putting the city in a substantial amount of debt.
No decision has been made to finalize the approval of a Double-A team and stadium. The biggest concern is finding the money needed to continue with this proposal.
"I have a little hesitation," said Councilman Mark Nair. "I say great, these benefits sound fantastic. New jobs sound great, however temporary or transient they are. But when we look at $32 million in the differential, I have an ethical problem by going back and saying 'we're going to ask you guys to pay for more of that.' So we have to think in creative terms of how to fund it."
Nair is hoping some private donors who have expressed interest in putting money into the stadium may come forward and offer their funding again.
The LGC will meet Wednesday morning to discuss their plan of action, and are expected to present a plan by mid April.