SUGAR LAND, TX --Sugar Land is hoping to hit it out of the park by building a new baseball stadium and bringing in a minor league team. On Tuesday night, the city council entered into a contract to build the stadium on one of four locations in Sugar Land. It could also be used for concerts and festivals. The proposed stadium should seat about 7,500 and is to be part of a larger cultural and entertainment complex the city is working to build nearby. Now, officials are looking for the best location to spark the economic growth. It's something residents have been waiting for. "Baseball fans in Sugar Land would be able to walk to the baseball game," Sugar Land resident Bruce Vest said. The city of Sugar Land is entering into a partnership with Opening Day Partners, a company that constructs and operates 14 minor league parks. The Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson of the Orioles, a partner, says the team will feature players of the Independent Atlantic League. "In over 12 years, there's been 600 players go from our league into organized baseball, AA, AAA and a few of them in the Major Leagues," Robinson said.
The city will fund about $30 million of the $40 million venue using sales taxes and voter-approved venue taxes."Taxes such as ticket taxes, parking taxes and an additional 2 percent of hotel occupancy, as well," said Sugar Land's Director of Economic Development Regina Morales. While the location at the intersection of Highway 59 and University Boulevard has been talked about most frequently, four locations are currently being considered, include the southeast and southwest corners of Highway 59 and University Boulevard, along with Highway 6 and Highway 90 and Highway 90 and Brooks Street. A decision is expected to come soon because the city hopes to break ground by March 2011. They also expect the team to take the field by April 2012. "We think this is going to impact our community for the next 20, 25 years," Mayor James Thompson said. The city also plans to hold a contest for ideas to name the venue.