Sparks Weighs Contribution To Baseball Stadium

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The city of Sparks is considering spending more than $4 million to build and reroute roads to a new stadium as its share of costs to bring minor league baseball back to northern Nevada.

The city's original plan was to contribute up to $3.5 million in tax revenue from new development around the proposed $39 million, 10,000-seat stadium near the Sparks Marina.

But the most recent alternative under consideration calls for the city instead to widen and extend Lincoln Way from the ballpark site directly to Sparks Boulevard near the boulevard's ramps to Interstate 80, the Daily Sparks Tribune reported.

That would cost the city $4.7 million, Finance Director Terri Thomas said.

Sierra Nevada Baseball LLC is the group behind the stadium project. The group's plan is to fund the stadium with revenue bonds to be repaid by a 2 percent car rental fee for tourists in Washoe County.

The Nevada Legislature approved the tax earlier this year but the Washoe County Board of Commissioners has yet to approve it.

Both of the alternatives are included in drafts of predevelopment agreements between the city of Sparks and Sierra Nevada Baseball. Nothing has been finalized.

The newest plan came about as Sparks staff learned that rerouting roads leading to the stadium has not been included in the total cost of the project. Thomas said significant adjustments to the roads alone must be made in order to accommodate crowds near 10,000.

A few weeks ago, one of the main financial backers of the project, CJ Jones, passed away. In an early draft of the predevelopment agreement, the delay in a signing of the agreement is attributed to Jones' passing.

"Due to the unfortunate death of CJ Jones, the managing partner for Sierra Nevada Baseball, as this staff report is being prepared, some details of the predevelopment agreement are still being negotiated," the report read.