Thursday, September 15, 2016

San Antonio Won't Be Getting a Triple-A Baseball Team Anytime Soon

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Mayor Ivy Taylor poses with San Antonio Missions owner David Elmore and mascots Ballapeno and Henry the Puffy Taco - TWITTER/MAYOR IVY TAYLOR
  • Twitter/Mayor Ivy Taylor
  • Mayor Ivy Taylor poses with San Antonio Missions owner David Elmore and mascots Ballapeno and Henry the Puffy Taco
Well that was quick. 

In April, Mayor Ivy Taylor stood alongside David Elmore of Elmore Sports Group, which owns the San Antonio Missions, to announce a push for Triple-A baseball in the city by 2019. The deal, she said, hinged on officials finding a way to fund and build a new $75 million ballpark somewhere downtown. 

That plan appears to be dead — at least for now. In a closed-session meeting on Wednesday, the Barrett Sports Group briefed City Council members on its study looking into the feasibility of bringing Triple-A baseball to San Antonio. Taylor emerged indicating that the plan is now all but impossible, at least in the near term. 

"One of my key requirements has been to have committed partners in this project,” Taylor said in a prepared statement after the briefing. “At this point, we don't have financial commitments from potential partners and I'm not willing to commit any tax dollars without that critical component."

None of this should be all that surprising, considering plans to bring Triple-A ball didn't exactly gain broad public support after Taylor's spring announcement. While some say they'd prefer to hold out for possible — but not imminent — Major League Baseball expansion (officials have said studies indicate San Antonio probably couldn't support a major league team anyway), many outright opposed spending any tax dollars on the building of a new stadium. Others warned that tapping any of the $850 million bond that goes before voters next May could doom its passage. 

"In fact, contrary to previous reports, there will not be any provisions in the 2017 budget or in the proposed 2017 bond package relating to a downtown stadium," Taylor said in a prepared statement. Council members are set to approve the 2017 budget during Thursday's council session.

Taylor says the Barrett study presented to council members Wednesday looked at six downtown sites for a possible new stadium, some of which have already since been ruled out due to plans that have materialized since the mayor first announced her push to bring Triple-A ball to the city — like some land southwest of City Hall that's already been named as the site for a future federal courthouse or the northwest corner of Hemisfair, which officials now plan to transform into a landmark civic park in the coming years. According to the Express-News, officials had also looked at whether the Fox Tech High School campus, land near the Institute of Texan Cultures, or the south parking lot of the Alamodome would be good sites for a new stadium. 

While various consultants and city staff will continue to look into prospect of bringing Triple-A ball to San Antonio, Taylor said that currently, there is now "no timeline for action."

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