Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder concluded a joint meeting of Lacey City Council and the city’s parks board on Thursday by renewing his call for a baseball stadium.
“That’s the only thing missing from our park system,” he said, adding that the city needs to continue discussing how it could be built, possibly in partnership with Saint Martin’s University.
“What’s it going to take to do that?” he said. “I think that would be a great addition and would love to see that happen.”
He said that over the years the city has received requests for wooden bat leagues, and Ryder has told them he would like to see them come here.
“We just need to understand the stadium side,” he said.
The West Coast League, a collegiate batting league, has teams in Bellingham, Port Angeles and Wenatchee.
“It’s also a passion of mine,” said parks board chairman Aram Wheeler. “I would love to wear that Lacey baseball cap and have that wooden bat team.”
Speaking on the construction of a baseball stadium, Wheeler added: “Hopefully we can adopt an MPD in the future that would address this issue.”
MPD stands for Metropolitan Park District. Creating one would allow the district to levy a tax to fund the city’s park system and other investments.
In 2018, the city weighed the idea of an MPD and sent it out to voters in November, when it was defeated 52% to 48%, according to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office.
If the MPD had been approved, it was estimated that it would raise $2.7 million per year by levying a tax of 47 cents per $1,000 of property assessment, or about $11.75 per month for a home assessed at $300,000, according to city projections at the time.
Some of the proposed expenditures included $6.5 million for an outdoor sports stadium with annual maintenance costs of $1 million.
Although voters in Lacey did not pass it, the Town of Tumwater created a Metropolitan Parks District in the same election.
Jen Burbidge, the city’s director of parks and recreation, offered Lacey a note of hope about baseball.
“There is a lot of interest and we have opportunities that we are currently exploring,” she said.
This story was originally published February 12, 2022 5:45 a.m.