KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The long-term presence of the Kansas City T-Bones baseball team in Wyandotte County is being secured with a purchase of the CommunityAmerica Ballpark by The Unified Government. A press release issued on Monday indicates the Unified Government will acquire and renovate the ballpark.
Unlike most ballparks in the nation, CommunityAmerica Ballpark has been privately funded and owned by Ehlert Development since its constriction in 2003. Typically the parks are owned by the city or county in which they are located, and then leased to the team who plays there.
Even though the T-Bones Baseball Club is profitable, the private ownership of the club in addition to the stadium likely would not remain viable for the next 10 years. A long-term lease signed by the T-Bones Baseball Club ensures they will remain playing in Wyandotte County.
The Unified Government considered the purchase for several months before going forward, and said the economic impact the T-Bones have on the community more than justifies it.
With support from Governor Sam Brownback and endorsement by the State of Kansas, The United Government plans to use $8 million in Village West Sales Tax Revenue Bonds (STAR) to acquire and renovate the stadium. That amount will require less than five months of revenue from the STAR bonds. All bonds are set to be paid off by 2017, which is four years ahead of the original schedule.
“We have been honored to be a vital and early part of the revival of Wyandotte County and a first-class asset to the Village West Entertainment district,” said Adam Ehlert, team owner and president. “The purchase of ballpark by the Unified Government will ensure the stadium will continue to benefit Wyandotte County and the State of Kansas.
Mark Holland, the Mayor of Kansas City, weighed in on the purchase as well.
“For the last 12 years we have been fortunate to have a successful baseball franchise in Kansas City, Kansas,” said Holland. “The Kansas City T-Bones are a fun, family-friendly, and affordable attraction for visitors and residents.”
More than 265,000 fans attended games at the park in 2013, and the T-Bones are said to generate over $5.5 million a year to economically benefit Wyandotte County. More than $650,000 has also been given by The T-Bones in order to improve Wyandotte County parks.
The Unified Government Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the issue in December.