New Hawks Owners Try For Double Play

Its the same old story. New Owners come to town, love the place, love the fans, love the weather, love baseball, and love to have the community build them a new stadium.

Such is the case with the new owners of the Boise Hawks Baseball team. No longer with the Chicago Cubs, the Hawks will fly under the Colorado Rockies logo.
The blue line is the current Hawks stadium outline and the black is the potential site at 2900 Fairview–room for a small ball park, but not much else.

The latest “Music Man” to arrive right here in River City is Jeff Eiseman of Agon Entertainment. At a press conference Tuesday he said all the usual nice things about the community along with the standard patter about jobs, stimulating the economy and looking at the potential of a partnership between the company and local governments around the city to build a mixed-use development that would include commercial and possibly residential space in addition to the stadium.

As a seasoned GROWTHOPHOBE, our position remains the same. We welcome any business to town as long as they pay fair wages, the same taxes as everyone else, and don’t demand welfare from those of us who have lived here forever. If the stadium is such a good idea, build it at their own private expense.

Agon Entertainment owns the Augusta (Georgia) Green Jackets, but to get public money they had to go to North Augusta, across the Savannah River, to find politicos willing to spend public money for the stadium.

The Hawks will continue to play in the county-owned Memorial Stadium for the 2015 season, general manager Todd Rahr said. The GUARDIAN has reported for years on the various attempts by “Music Men” to play Boise against Meridian, propose a multi-purpose stadium, include major league soccer, etc…

The NEW YORK TIMES has a good piece on debt outlasting fan appeal when it comes to stadiums. Here is a scale model drawing of the Fairview site from a 2010 POST.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    As I’ve previously written, the 1992 completion of The Broadway Chinden Connector, which benefits tens of thousands every day, directly lead to the demise of the Fairview/Main Corridor. For those of you who are new to Boise or have forgotten, Fairview/Main was once a thriving business district. (more or less)

    The taxpayers owe it to Boise to help mitigate the destruction wrought to businesses by The Connector. I believe a new stadium by the Connector meets any reasonable person’s highest and best use test for either one of the large vacant lots along the Fairview/Main Corridor. And it would go a long way to revitalizing west downtown.

    How much was spent on environmental studies, wetlands mitigation, tree replanting, etc., etc. when The Broadway Chinden Connector was in the design and then construction phase? Yet somehow the taxpayers can’t be bothered when a road eliminates the traffic which once supported thriving businesses?

    It’s this kind of indifference (to people) which has led to grass roots efforts which have stopped badly needed road projects which actually would have helped an area. Classic throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    And then there’s the Greater Boise Auditorium District which was enabled by the State Legislature and authorized by an overwhelming majority of Boise residents. It’s GBAD’s mandate to build such facilities. They are failing the voters and taxpayers if they don’t build a new convention center or attempt a new stadium.

    EDITOR NOTE–Regarding the 2900 Fairview site, unless there are major road closures, there simply isn’t enough room for an adult ball park. With regard to GBAD, they are not only failing the voters, they are ignoring them and attempting to go around them. The preoccupation with “downtown” slights the rest of the community. Finally, when the GBAD was formed, one of the prime reasons was so we could have “Ice Capades or Holiday on Ice.” Since the district was formed new venues have been built like the Morrison Center, Quest Arena, Taco Bell Arena, Bronco Stadium, Idaho Center, Hawks Stadium, and whatever name the Western Idaho Fair uses.

  2. It’s good that “visionaries” run our local government, rather than the Pragmatic Gadfly Guardian! (ha!)

    The food truck park is right there… they could triple their prices on Game Day so people feel like they’re getting authentic ball park food!

    Parking? Sure, there’s no parking available… but who needs parking when the Trolley is making a pass out there every 15 minutes?!!

    I’d suggest one other thing… when a “slugger” comes to town, we don’t want homers to be smashing thru windshields over there on Main Street… put up a “green monster” wall! But paint it Bronco Blue and it will be the Blue Monster!

    “You may say that I’m a dreeeeeeeeeeea-merrrrrr, but I’m not the on-ly one…”

  3. It’s a tired old scam and the city administrators love it for the tax increases which never die.

    BC: You’re talking welfare (urban renewal). I agree the road complex was somewhat of an error in that it was built to expressway people into jobs at the, then several, multinational corporate headquarters which used to be in downtown. Those companies were obviously dying/leaving about the time they built the connector complex. So now we in the suburbs have an expressway to the Trader Joe’s, the hospital, and a bunch of empty buildings. So I agree on the poor planning.

    The Romans were prolific publicly funded stadium and road builders from peak until slightly past their peak. Apparently Roman developers had their politicians on a string too. Our problem is apathy of the voter/taxpayer:

    Did you know that NASCAR tracks are privately owned AND profitable too.

    BTW: For those of you still going downtown for shopping or entertainment, I recommend the suburbs. No parking meters, easy parking, no bicycles or buses cutting you off, no drunks on the sidewalk, huge two-way roads, multiple choice of venue, and very competitive prices. Also, I’d hate to be in one of those multistory historic downtown buildings during a fire or earthquake… they’re just not safe.

    Vision: The best hope for downtown is for Luke’s to develop a Mayo Clinic type of business model. This would mean radically changing the current local focus to a national/global one. It would also require they offer a similar quality of product to Mayo not just in terms of treatment success but also in terms of seamless efficiency and convenience to the client.

    Or just go with my massive ski resort idea: Build a tramway from the airport to Bogus B with a terminal in the downtown. Turn the dilapidated Norend into an olympic village. Allow uber rich / nouveau riche home sites all the way up to Bogus. Expand the size and scope of Bogus B to include multiple winter and summer sports. Marginal amounts of snow are not a big deal because most people spending money in places like Sun Valley don’t ski much anyway. (Not a crazy idea considering that Tamarack pulled it off for several years without any existing infrastructure, a two-hour drive from an airline terminal, and didn’t even have a ski-lift at first. We got everything in place now.)

  4. Foothills Rider
    Sep 24, 2014, 11:11 am

    Who ever actually crunches real numbers to see if any of these schemes can ever be profitable? Though Dave provides a nice article on debt and (large) stadiums, even it doesn’t fully relate to demographics of Boise. Sadly, this “developer” who is used to getting freebies from other cities tries to equate Boise and surrounds with Augusta, GA.

    Without getting into bonds/debt and financing, how much “participation” by fans (spenders-of-money) would be needed to both pay for and make a proposed complex profitable [add in any other events/upgrades needed, costs, and realistic projections of participation and spending]? Do we even have the numbers needed (fans/spending) to meet those income goals? Here we are, with a short-season Class A team that has maybe 2000 attendees per game. Just throwing in restaurants and/or stores, or whatever does not equate to more consumers. There is simple math involved in projecting user numbers, income generation, and possible draws for new clients.

    A vision of a robust area teeming with activity and spending is real nice….but it is only a vision, not reality, especially here.
    Ada County has 373 people per square mile (add in any other surrounding counties, and the total number goes down). Richmond County (Augusta) has 618 (US Census). Where are all of these new Idaho baseball fans going to come from to fill a giant stadium for a second-tier team? Why can’t anyone conceive of starting with less costly upgrades to what we have, maybe soliciting some larger corporate sponsorships to pay for upgrades, and at least start by growing the local interest in the sport? As far as convention and hotel space, I would guess that fans will fly here for a BSU football game, but how many are flying here for a Hawks baseball game?

  5. The naysayers said the same thing about the greenbelt. They said the same thing about Boise State going to division 1A. By the way how does BSU fit 37,000 in when there’s parking for maybe 5,000?

    Thanks for the NY Times article BG, I read it. Now let me recommend some reading about Oriole Park at Camden yards:

    Hey, New Jersey is, um, New Jersey. And we’re talking a much smaller and simpler project.

    Upgrades to the current Hawks Stadium is a more dubious concept than a downtown stadium. The Connector can accommodate much more traffic than Glenwood/Chinden. The Connector does it every single day.

    EDITOR NOTE–BSU has also seen a declining attendance for the past three years. We have had numerous suggestions that the NW corner of Fairview and Eagle Road has lots of space as well.

  6. Steve Rinehart
    Sep 24, 2014, 10:29 pm

    Thanks for doing the reporting that the regular newspaper failed to do.

  7. Foothills Rider
    Sep 25, 2014, 6:45 am

    Dave, that corner was just earmarked for a large sports complex – indoor basketball, tennis, etc…for many public uses.

    Cynic: stadium decisions should be buisness-based. The greenbelt isn’t a business requiring sustainability/funding through money ultimately collected by users (**funding of new parks and greenbelts a separate debate).

    Stadium development is legacy creation for politicians who want to seem important later. The build should come from business-based need, not from political posturing.

  8. Bill Goodnight
    Sep 25, 2014, 7:35 am

    I would like to see a minor league ball park in Boise, but I am adamantly opposed to any public funds being spent on it…..sort of!

    GBAD is stalking an expansion of the downtown convention center using their hotel/motel tax monies. No one I know will benefit from conventions in Boise.

    I know many people who would prefer this money be applied to construction of a baseball stadium.

    Having recently visited well designed minor league parks in Memphis and Reno, I can attest to their inviting atmosphere.

    Of course, if Boise design criteria are applied it will be tan or brown and strictly utilitarian in nature.

  9. No need to debate this. We won’t get to vote, and if we did, less than 15% would. I can’t vote regardless because I am not a city resident. However, because it wouldn’t be on the tax rolls, I am affected because I live within the boundaries of the Boise School District. Also, as a county resident, I would foot the bill for whatever happens to the current ballpark.

  10. Erico:

    You wouldn’t be affected because in the extremely unlikely event of a direct property tax, Boise School District’s portion of your tax bill would not go up. It is its own separate taxing entity. You may or may not live within GBAD’s boundaries which don’t exactly coincide with Boise City’s boundaries.

    Regarding the Oriole Park in Baltimore. I disagree with the Orioles being a private company as an excuse to avoid disclosing their revenue. If there is to be a public/private partnership then the stadium should be treated like a public utility, with an elected or appointed commission overseeing the finances and limiting the stadium’s primary user to a reasonable return on their investment. Or any for profit user for that matter.

    That’s what this is about. Public utility. Few individuals or corporations have the ability to not only run a sports franchise but to also build a stadium. A stadium which may benefit many, not all, but many. It’s not unlike the Boise River dams and canals which were financed publicly but mostly benefit private farmers.

    I rarely drive on roads outside of Boise City limits so why should I pay for widening of Ten Mile and Linder and the Central Valley Expressway? One could argue we don’t need a Central Valley Expressway or Ten Mile interchange.

  11. BC: For the benefit of all, I’d like Boise City to pay everyone’s cable TV bill. Why not… it’s entertainment just like a baseball park?

    My point is, welfare should be very minimal and only when needed… Such as to feed poor families so the children have proper nutrition. Or to front the R & D costs of an amazing new drug. Welfare for baseball is wrong!

  12. Cynic.. i would be affected. The stadium will most likely not be on the tax rolls. That will deprive the Boise School District of the taxes that they could have collected. That affects me because I have to pay my share of those uncollected taxes. The budget will remain as is, it’s just how it’s split up among the taxpayers. Admittedly, the cost to any single taxpayer would not be large, but it will be there.

  13. There is a very, very simple solution to this situation.

    Put the stadium in MERIDIAN!!!Let those tax payers fund it.

  14. Unlikely Meridian will fund it but they would welcome it if the promoters paid for it. Unlike their neighboring city’s of Boise and Nampa, Meridian has not bought into the build it and they will come crowd which has piled a lot of debt up which will make everybody rich. Well the developers anyway.
    How is that working out you ask? Meridian was able to pay cash for their new city hall, sewer improvements, and parks –all paid for and Meridian has a lower tax rate than Boise or Nampa and NO DEBT

  15. Foothills Rider
    Sep 28, 2014, 8:38 pm

    Meridian: and yet they seek supplemental levy to keep schools afloat.

    EDITOR NOTE–Double edge sword here. The CITY lives on growth which creates a larger tax base. That same growth also means more students so the SCHOOL DISTRICT has to build more buildings and hire more teachers. Simplistic example: 1000 new residents can justify about one new copper on the force. However if half (500) of those newcomers are kids, it can mean a new school building and perhaps a dozen new teachers.

  16. Foothills, also remember that the Meridian (now West Ada) School District includes Eagle, Star, and a good chunk of Boise.

  17. Our minor league St. Paul team will get a new downtown stadium and the Twins got there’s a few years ago. What a county!

  18. Erico:

    Much of the land in the Fairview/Main Corridor is already effectively off the tax rolls. As I’ve written many times, suburbs are being subsidized by taxpayers by road building and widening. Every acre of land dedicated to roads is an acre off the tax rolls. Property tax is not the only tax in town. Fairview/Main is generating little in income tax and sales tax relative to what it could generate.

    The old carved up lots along Fairview/Main cannot compete, despite the great location, against suburban properties. Something has to be done. Private enterprise can not pull it off due to new zoning laws implemented over the last 4 decades which hamstring private redevelopment. Even if a private developer had all the money in the world, he/she could not redevelop many Fairview/Main lots due to parking restrictions, lot size and setback restrictions, and storm water retention restrictions.

    Please try to understand this. Many want zoning laws, but they don’t want to pay damages for regulatory takings.

    The City has taken a few rezoning steps, Fairview/Main was recently rezoned 5CDD put the parking overlay is P2, not P1 that the downtown core has. The means mandatory parking lot sizes. Most of the lots are barely big enough to build a snow cone shack given all the zoning regulations even in light of the new 5CDD zoning.

    Dave: It’s not just the city living on growth. The entire world is built on the foundation of fractional reserve banking which is a highly regulated pyramid scheme which needs ever more growth. It’s the very basis of modern reality that seems to get absolutely no coverage anywhere.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are correct in what you say. Regarding the financing, it has been described as a game of musical chairs. As long as the music is playing, there is no problem. Once it stops, some is left out and when they don’t pay, the next, and next, and next cannot pay. This happened in 2008. Solution is to stop encouraging and PAYING to grow. Growthophobe credo: If they want to come here, pay their taxes, and a living wage, welcome! If they want welfare, go to California or New York.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: