JOPLIN, MO.--- A major decision was made at the Joplin City Council meeting tonight about the possibility for professional baseball. The council voted 8 to 1, authorizing the execution of a lease agreement between the City of Joplin and WLD Suarez Baseball.
"They approved our lease. It's an exciting moment for us, very excited about this and we're looking forward to playing baseball in Joplin in 2015," said Shawn Suarez, WLD Suarez Baseball LLC.
The lease on Joe Becker Stadium is for 20 years at $150,000 per year. WLD Suarez plans to invest $5.3 million into the redevelopment of the entire stadium, along with $4 million from the City of Joplin. None of the city's investment will come from the pockets of the taxpayers.
"Some of the money is going to come from money that we borrow and we 'll use the lease as payments that were provided for this evening to pay that debt off. And some other money comes from fund balances that we've had leftover in city funds," said Mark Rohr, Joplin City Manager.
The WLD Suarez team is anxious to join the Joplin community.
"The next step is there's going to be a performance agreement, and then the next step will be us kind of getting into the community and being part of the family around here," said Suarez.
Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean encourages city involvement.
"This is going to be what you make it. It's going to be what we make it in this city, and if we want to see it succeed, then we have to get out and support it," said Melodee Colbert-Kean, Joplin City Mayor.
A press conference with more information will be held at Buffalo Wild Wings by WLD Suarez tomorrow morning at 11.
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