City and county to seek sites for new stadium in Everett

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City and county to seek sites for new stadium in Everett

It would become the new home of the AquaSox


Photo by Doug Ramsay

Everett AquaSox infielder Mike Salvatore points to the left field wall as he circles the bases after hitting a two-point shot 364 feet over the wall in left field to tie the game score at 4-4 in the Sox’s sixth inning against the Dust Devils’ Tri-City Game on Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium on Sunday, June 19.


EVERET —
Webbly needs better playgrounds.
A feasibility study began last week for the establishment of a new multipurpose outdoor stadium in Everett.
And if one is built, the Everett AquaSox minor league baseball team commits to a lease of 30 years or more to anchor it.
Major League Baseball’s stricter installation standards are fueling the conversation.
There was an overhaul of the entire minor league system in 2021 which focused on better professional working conditions. Teams such as the Sox have signed agreement licenses to be part of Minor League Baseball. Other teams have been shaken up and are now playing in independent baseball leagues.
“Unfortunately, Funko Field doesn’t fit the bill,” Councilman Don Schwab said. The field where the Sox play is owned by the Everett School District and would require extensive facility upgrades.
Facility requirements include larger spaces for home and visiting teams, launch tunnels, security monitoring systems and more, Baseball America magazine reported. Not having separate changing rooms for female staff is an “automatic non-compliance” when a 2025 deadline arrives, the magazine reported.
These are “significant improvements to the current facility that are not feasible due to a multitude of factors, including the school district’s need to use the facility for student-centered programs,” Mayor Cassie Franklin said in a statement.
Beyond the Sox, Funko Field is used for high school games and the Everett Community College Trojans.
City Council and County Council both voted unanimously to jointly authorize the stadium study last week.
Elected leaders say they see opportunities here.
Schwab and other executives visited a few stadiums as part of an investigative committee.
What he saw was that stadiums are a huge benefit to the community.
More than baseball would happen here. They are used as community park spaces year-round, Schwab described.
Tammy Dunn, director of sports tourism for the county, participated in the tour which examined relatively new stadiums built for the Cannon Ballers of Kannapolis, North Carolina (formerly Intimidators) and the Fireflies of Columbia, South Carolina.
These could host conferences and possibly concerts, as well as opening up the field to community sports for children.
“Baseball stadiums are all-purpose venues, and so much more than minor league baseball,” Dunn said.
And, a new stadium “could bring us more baseball tournaments because we would have Funko Field and the stadium” to host them, Dunn added.
Major League Baseball resumed operation of the minor league system in 2020.
The 2021 revamp repositioned the entire AquaSox league one step up the minor league ladder as a new six-team High-A West league with a longer season.
“From a player development perspective, facility standards and improved working conditions for players are an important part of licensing,” said Mike Teevan, vice president of communications for Major League Baseball. Grandstand.
The AquaSox have deadlines to show Major League Baseball’s progress toward meeting stadium expectations.
Major League Baseball media representatives did not say when. A rival league team, the Hillsboro Hops in Oregon, said in documents it had an April 2024 deadline to show progress.
The AquaSox started in 1984. The AquaSox did not respond to a request for an interview.

How to pay for a stadium?

Nothing is definitive on who would pay to build a new stadium, or who would own it and other technical details, and officials say it’s too early to talk about that.
The development would not result in additional taxes for him, the city’s director of economic development, Dan Eernissee, told city council last week.
It could be a public-private partnership, Eernissee said.
Major League Baseball tasks individual team owners with raising the money to meet the requirements, based on stadium pitch materials for The Hillsboro Hops.
Most of AquaSox’s rivals face the same pressure to make facility upgrades to meet deadlines.
Counties and cities often contribute money.
In Oregon, for Eugene’s team, his state legislature committed $7.5 million for a new multipurpose facility project and his local county commissioners agreed to use the tax dollars. tourism collected in taxes on hotel rooms for the project, The Registrar (Eugene) reported. It could cost $54-60 million and be the new home of the Eugene Emeralds. The team plays today at the University of Oregon Baseball Stadium.
The original Hillsboro Hops land will be extensively renovated for $40 million, which will be led by the City of Hillsboro, Oregon itself. The city is investing $10 million in tourist taxes on hotels and the team will have to repay a $30 million loan to the city.
And in Spokane, the Spokane Indians are also asking Spokane County for an $11 million cash injection to improve Avista Stadium.

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