Officials hope to bring independent professional baseball team - KOAM TV 7

Officials hope to bring independent professional baseball team back to Joplin


The Joplin City Council tonight also heard a proposal that could be a hit-- to bring back an independent baseball team to the city. The city is considering reviving and reinvesting in a bit of Joplin history.

America's favorite past-time may be coming back to Joplin, and after Monday's city council works session...baseball officials certainly hope so.

"Mickey Mantle played on this field. The stadium is a little jewel I think. And we just need to get it up to minimum standards for American association baseball." says Matt LaBranch Executive Vice President of the Suarez Group.

The key statement from WLD baseball officials is bring an independent professional baseball team to Joplin by modernizing and renovating Joe Becker Stadium.

WLD proposed to officials to  keep the classic beauty of the stadium by keeping many of the old features - a project that would cost the city roughly 9.3 million dollars in renovation costs.

"We have to make sure it's a viable fit for Joplin. Not just in the use, but in the numbers." says Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean.

Officials presented to the council ideas which would potentially add restaurants, housings and meeting rooms in the stadium, but also bring back that classic family entertainment.

"We are determined to get it done here in Joplin. All our bread is in this basket." LaBranch says.

"This is huge for Joplin. It brings family entertainment back to Joplin. It makes sure people can get out and say there is something to do in Joplin." Colbert-Kean tells us.

The council unanimously voted for the parks and recreation department to continue working on facts and figures with WLD and present the findings at a later council meeting.

Officials say if the plans are approved it would add about 80-full time jobs for the
city. Mayor Colbert-Kean hopes the council will be able to make the final vote by the end of the year so the teams can begin play in 2015.


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