Pittsburg to Discuss $350k in Baseball Field Improvements For Minor League Team

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Pittsburg Baseball Parking

An independent minor league baseball team wants to make Pittsburg its new home and is asking the City of Pittsburg to make $350,000 in improvements to City Park Field 1.  The goal is to bring the field up to league standards.

The Pittsburg City Council will take up the issue during its next council meeting scheduled for April 7. In addition to the $350,000 requested, beginning in FY 2014-2015, the City budget will include an annual maintenance expense of approximately Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000) funded by the Economic Development Fund.

If approved, the Pacific Association will have four teams for the 2014 season: Sonoma, San Rafael, Vallejo and Pittsburg. The baseball teams in the association are unaffiliated and include players that played in minor and major league baseball. The Pittsburg team has had one tryout and is expected to have at least two former major league players.

The team would play 78 games (39 away and home) between June and August, not including the playoffs with the first game tentatively set on June 17, 2014. Tickets are expected to be between $5-$10 with an expected first season average of 250-300 fans per game.

It should be noted, no general funds will be used on this project.

Here is a look at the Staff Report:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Request for adoption by the City Council a resolution approving a Field 1 License Agreement with Backwards K Group to bring an Independent Minor League Baseball Team to Pittsburg and authorizing necessary improvements to City Park Field 1.

FISCAL IMPACT

If approved, the resolution authorizes the allocation of Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($350,000) from Pittsburg Power Company Reserves Account for field and park improvements that will bring the field up to league standards. In addition, beginning in FY 2014-2015, the City budget will include be an annual maintenance expense of approximately Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000) funded by the Economic Development Fund.

RECOMMENDATION

City Council adopt the Resolution approving a Field 1 License Agreement with Backwards K Group LLC allocating $350,000 for field improvements and authorizing the City Manager to carry out any additional tasks and budget allocations required to carry out the obligations of the Agreement.

BACKGROUND

Backwards K Group has proposed the addition of a Pittsburg team to the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. If approved, the Pacific Association will have four teams for the 2014 season: Sonoma, San Rafael, Vallejo and Pittsburg. Last year, the Pacific Association had six teams: Sonoma, San Rafael, Vallejo, East Bay, and two teams in Hawaii. The two teams in Hawaii proved very costly and have been dropped from the Pacific Association.

The baseball teams in the association are unaffiliated and include players that played in minor and major league baseball. The Pittsburg team has had one tryout and is expected to have at least two former major league players.

The Pittsburg team is proposing to use Field 1 in City Park which is currently the only full-sized baseball field with 325 ft. left field, 310 ft. right field, and 390 ft. at center field. City  Park contains two additional young adult/adult ball fields that do not accommodate adult  baseball, and four youth/little league fields (Davi Fields 1-4). Field 1 is the largest baseball field in City Park and is located in the southeast corner of City Park. The use of Field 1 by the Pittsburg team is not exclusive. Annual tournaments that are normally scheduled on Field 1 will continue to occur without interruption (Valle, Acuna, Quesada, Foreman, and Pittsburg Baseball/Softball Association).

Staff met several times in February with the management group that would own the Pittsburg team. The meetings included on site examinations of the facilities and needed renovations. The ownership group delivered to staff a short and long term wish list of improvements necessary for the team to play baseball at Field 1.

Staff also met with the Pittsburg Baseball/Softball Association on March 18, 2014 to discuss the impacts of a minor league baseball team on the youth teams using Field 1. In an effort to encourage the cooperative efforts between the Pittsburg Baseball/Softball Association and professional Pittsburg team, the Pittsburg Baseball/Softball Association adjusted their schedule to move teams off of Field 1 to allow for park improvements and renovations upon  City Council approval.

Between 1948-1951 Pittsburg was home to its first minor league team, the “Diamonds.” The Diamonds had two Major Leaguers: Vince DiMaggio, Manager and Gus Suhr.

SUBCOMMITTEE FINDINGS

The potential of making Pittsburg’s City Park Field 1 home to an Independent Baseball Team was presented to the Community Advisory Commission at the March 5, 2014 meeting and discussed with the Economic Development/Waterfront Development Subcommittee during the March 25, 2014 meeting.

STAFF ANALYSIS

The term of the proposed Field 1 License Agreement is five years. The Agreement also includes field and facility operations, promotion, maintenance, equipment, concessions, field usage fees and potential revenue sharing. The Pacific Association has defined rules, regulations and policies governing the use of fields.

Within the Field 1 License Agreement, the Pittsburg team has a parking plan, safety and security plan, alcohol management plan, and community benefits plan. In addition, the Pittsburg team supplies game day security and a clean-up crew. The league allows the sale of beer as part of their concessions however tailgating is prohibited. Field 1 is fenced off and will only have alcohol sales inside the fence.

The cost of a dedicated police officer for all home games during the first year is included in staff’s proposed FY 2014-15 budget funded from PPC Reserves.

City staff from Economic Development, Planning, Public Works, Police, and Traffic have evaluated the impacts from the Pittsburg team and the requested Field 1 improvement wish list. The proposed improvements include fencing, seating replacement and additional bleachers, safety netting, grass infield improvements, pitchers mound installation, scoreboard installation, dugout improvements, sound system improvements, bullpens, drainage improvements, and security cameras. In addition, a lighted crosswalk at Civic Avenue and Center Drive may be installed. Staff has worked diligently on obtaining estimates and timelines for the necessary improvements to be installed by the end of May.

The Pacific Association plays 78 games (39 away and home) between June and August, not including playoffs. Should the City Council approve the Field 1 License Agreement, the first home game for Pittsburg would tentatively be at Field 1 on June 17, 2014.

Ticket prices are expected to be between $5 and $10. In San Rafael, the average attendance is 750 fans per game. Staff is expecting the first season to average between 250 to 300 fans per game.

The addition of the minor league baseball team to the community of Pittsburg will help fulfill two goals set by the City Council. Goal 2 is Improve Public Facilities and Infrastructure and Goal 5 is Improve the Quality of Life for Pittsburg Residents.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. This is one of the dumbest proposals I have seen. Let’s waste $350k of city money for a 4 team baseball league that is set to make profits off field improvements. How about the league contribute some money into the projects instead of asking to use taxpayer money. I doubt you will get 250 people at each game.

  2. For $350k, I wonder what additional youth programs Pittsburg could create or build? Seems like a waste of money to me but thankfully I can worry about my own City in Antioch wasting its money.

  3. So Pittsburg first takes the ‘City Park’ away from it’s citizens by placing a cyclone fence around the park keeping its nearest neighborhoods without a place to play baseball, basketball or use the BBQ grills there. Now they want to spend all this money and charge citizens to come to watch baseball games that have always been free to watch. How about putting that money towards a BART station that should have been paid for over the last forty years of collecting tax money for it.

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