Most of the City of Regina’s executive committee voted in favor of a motion to reject a letter of intent for a proposed new baseball stadium at a meeting on Wednesday.
On the agenda, the city administration recommended that city council delegate to city manager Chris Holden the authority to approve a letter of intent between the city, the Regina Red Sox Baseball Club and Living Sky Sports and Entertainment Inc. . (LSSE).
The recommendation included city approval for funding of up to $ 100,000 for the city’s share of “scouting” on the project.
Holden explained how the baseball club and LSSE would help fund the feasibility study, but noted that the city would bear a significant portion of the costs as it would eventually become a city-owned facility.
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The Red Sox drafted a memorandum of understanding earlier this year with LSSE, which helped work on the concept plans.
The park’s initial price is estimated at between $ 20 million and $ 25 million, and the Red Sox are said to be the primary tenant of the state-of-the-art 3,500-seat stadium.
“(This project) is a bit outside of our recreation master plan. It’s not a priority in terms of baseball setup and it doesn’t really fit into our recreational partnership framework, ”Holden said.
“However, it really does look at the quality of life by providing opportunities for residents and I think it has the opportunity to stimulate some economic growth and activity.”
At Wednesday’s meeting, a motion was created by Councilor Bob Hawkins both to deny the letter of intent and not to advance the funds requested for the feasibility study.
Hawkins said there should be financial support from the private sector to help cover the costs of the feasibility study.
He said the city had other funding priorities regarding recreation projects as well as other financial goals, including support for COVID-19 and reimbursements for Mosaic Stadium.
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The Ward 2 councilor also believes that there is not enough community support at this time for this type of project.
“We are committed to the well-being of the community and the environment, but now is not the time to invest in $ 100,000, which is just a dream right now. Hawkins suggested during the meeting.
After debate among committee members, the motion was carried 7-3.
Councilors Hawkins, Cheryl Stadnichuk, Shanon Zachidniak, Andrew Stevens, Daniel LeBlanc, Jason Mancinelli and Mayor Sandra Masters all voted in favor.
Lori Bresciani, Terina Shaw and John Findura were the other councilors who voted against the motion presented by Hawkins. Councilor Landon Mohl did not attend the meeting.
“Disappointed, but not surprised”
Alan Simpson, founder of LSSE, was not happy to hear the executive committee’s decision on Wednesday afternoon.
He said he was disappointed with the end result, but admitted he wasn’t shocked either.
“It takes special groups to do special things like this. Obviously, the City of Regina doesn’t share the same vision as the LSSE and the Red Sox, so we’re moving on, ”Simpson said in an interview with Global News Wednesday.
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Simpson is now hoping that a partnership with private sector funding can move this project forward.
Regarding the location of the stadium, Simpson said engineering studies and other steps undertaken by the LSSE and the Red Sox have identified the Dewdney Avenue train stations as a good location for the installation.
Simpson believes a place like this could attract over 100,000 fans per season at Red Sox games, more than what Currie Field, their current home, attracts for home games.
“It can be an economic cornerstone for the Dewdney Avenue entertainment district and revitalize a downtown area that is in desperate need of a lot of work.”
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