Ottawa closer to having a professional baseball team

An Ottawa city committee has voted to accept a multi-million dollar improvement plan for the Ottawa Stadium, moving closer to the return of professional baseball.

City manager says team ready to submit a proposal

An Ottawa city committee heard that there is one team ready to submit a proposal to bring baseball back to the city.

That’s pending city council’s approval of $10 million to $30 million in funding for Ottawa Stadium upgrades.

Ottawa city manager Kent Kirkpatrick told the city’s Finance and Economic Development Committee Wednesday that the $10 million is needed to bring the stadium up to par for hosting a minor league baseball team, with $30 million a possibility if the city wants "luxury developments" such as a new concourse.

"I think what we've learned is that a full renovation would be required to support high level, affiliated minor league baseball," said Kirkpatick.

That money could be recouped over time from sources such as leases, Kirkpatrick said.

It’s unclear how much taxpayers would pay.

Asked about concerns with parking in the area, Kirkpatrick said they’re exploring adding underground parking along with promoting public transit.

Critics have questioned the viability of baseball in this city, but Mayor Jim Watson said that he is satisfied with the progress so far.

"What we have before us is, I believe, a highly pragmatic proposal by staff to go out to the market again, and for us to simply wave the white flag and give up I think, would be the irresponsible thing to do," said Watson.

Kirkpatrick said the city will have to get the process started to get a team by their target of 2015.

That could be a single-A team, which would feature players farther from the major leagues than the preferred double-A or triple-A levels.

Ottawa wants a team to commit for a ten year lease.

An agreement in principle to bring a team to the stadium for 2014 fell apart after it was announced in September.