Baseball Stadium Out, Resort Casino in at Sparks Marina

Baseball is out at the Sparks Marina, but gambling is in.

The principals couldn't agree on details of a stadium at the Marina for a minor league team. But The City Council rejected a challenge of a planned 1,000-room resort casino.

Sparks officials said Monday that negotiations broke down among the city; RED Development of Kansas City, Mo., which is developing the Legends at Sparks Marina project; and SK Baseball, the group planning to bring a Triple-A franchise to the area.

SK said on Tuesday it had acquired the Tucson Sidewinders of the Pacific Coast League and would continue its search for a stadium

The planned 1,000-room casino resort next to the marina moved forward on Monday when Sparks City Council denied the appeals of
three homeowners who opposed the project.

"This project has been a long time coming, and it's fantastic," Councilman Ron Smith said. "I believe people in Sparks want this project and need this project."

The council voted 3-0, with council members Mike Carrigan and Ron Schmitt absent, to deny the appeals and affirm the Sparks Planning Commission's approval of the Olympia Gaming project.

Councilmen John Mayer, Phil Salerno and Smith voted to deny the appeals.

"This is a great project," Mayor Geno Martini said. "I don't mean just the hotel. I mean the entire project. It's going to be great for the city of Sparks."

Marina resident Don Young, one of the three appellants, said he didn't oppose the casino being part of the Legends of Sparks Marina development but he did oppose it being so close to existing homes,
including his own.

"It's a 150-acre site," Young said. "I don't believe they have to be 81 feet from homes."

The planned $650 million project, when complete, will include 1,000 rooms, five restaurants, a spa, fitness center, pool, private beach, lakefront amphitheater, water show and a convention center.

SK Baseball officials told Washoe County commissioners last month they had an agreement in place to purchase a Pacific Coast League franchise.

Jerry Katzoff, who owns SK Baseball with his son, Stuart, and business partner, Herb Simon, said at the time that SK Baseball was
considering at least five sites in the Truckee Meadows for a possible stadium and the Sparks Marina was one of the five.

Dave Claflin, vice president of marketing for RED Development, said several options are being considered for the stadium site, including an indoor multi-use arena that could accommodate minor league hockey and basketball, concerts and other activities, such as professional bull riding.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)