JOPLIN, MO.--- The future of Joe Becker Stadium is up for discussion. Joplin city leaders are talking about bringing a professional baseball team to town. Joe Becker Stadium would be the team's home field if that happens. There's much more that comes with bringing in a new team to the area. The stadium and surrounding areas would receive a makeover that would come, in part, at the expense of tax payers.
"Joplin's a baseball town. I've been here almost 10 years now, and my take on it is baseball is the prime sport in the area, and we think it's a nice fit because of those reasons," said Mark Rohr, Joplin City Manager.
A professional baseball team called the El Paso Diablos wants to relocate to Joplin, making Joe Becker Stadium its home field.
"This is a low-cost, family oriented type entertainment venue that we can provide if this project goes forward," said Rohr.
The $9.3 million proposal includes $4 million for stadium renovations. That money would come from city taxes. The other $5 million would be invested by the Diablos managers for commercial growth and improvements to areas surrounding the stadium.
"We've done some research in the past where we've seen cities expend anywhere from 30 to 40 million dollars on a new baseball facility," said Rohr.
City leaders say it's actually a pretty good price point.
"Fortunately, we have a facility here that has a lot of historic benefits to it that we can enhance for a much smaller amount of money," said Rohr.
They add, the updated facility would bring in more people to the area.
"The more amenities you have and the more synergy you create with other similar type development or related development, the more likely you are to attract people," said Rohr.
This isn't a done deal yet and city leaders want your thoughts on the proposal. They're having a public hearing on Monday at 6 p.m. on the 5th floor of city hall. It's a chance for residents to help city leaders make a decision on the outcome of the stadium.
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