Baseball stadium agreement approved by committee

The finance and economic development committee unanimously approved a lease agreement with Beacon Sports Group for Ottawa's baseball stadium.
City committee approves plan that would bring Double-A baseball to Ottawa. 2:07

A city committee approved the contract for Ottawa's baseball stadium Thursday but there are still many important steps ahead before professional baseball returns to the nation's capital.

Members of the finance and economic development committee gave the deal a unanimous thumbs up, as did all seven public delegations.

The city's potential deal, which will now to go city council, is with Beacon Sports Capital Partners, who are proposing a 10-year lease of Ottawa Stadium — with two five-year extension options — for a Double-A team in minor league baseball's Eastern League.

Beacon Sports will invest $2 million into the facility and will lease a new scoreboard for an additional $1 million.

The city, in turn, would need to invest $2.7 million for stadium improvements and $3 million to help the stadium meet Minor League Baseball standards.

In total, the city will invest $5.7 million while Beacon Sports will invest $5.5 million.

But before minor league baseball comes to the capital, a renovation plan is still needed. Also, all plans from Beacon Sports would need approval from both the league the team plays in and the team itself.

Local support has started to show, though, including 12 business leaders featuring former mayor Jim Durrell. The leaders have created a group they believe will help "champion Ottawa baseball".

Local fans also showed their excitement and told the city that Ottawa has a solid fan base.

"Quite simply, if you build it, we will come," said Peter Bachelor, a member of the local group "Friends of the Blue Jayz", adding he and his wife are eager to buy season tickets.

The lease agreement also outlines that baseball could return to Ottawa as early as 2013.