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Joplin City Council approves lease agreement for Joe Becker Stad - KOAM TV 7

Joplin City Council approves lease agreement for Joe Becker Stadium

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With an 8-1 vote, Joplin City Council approves a lease agreement with WLD Suarez Baseball LLC to bring an independent league baseball team to Joe Becker Stadium.

"We're excited," said Matt LaBranche, Executive Vice Principal for the Suarez group. "It's been a long road and it's a true partnership."

Stadium use will cost the team owners $150,000 per year with quarterly payments of $37,500. The group will also pay the city for one third of other expenses such as utilities.

"Of course, we have on the real estate side of it, the development plans in the plaza and some other items around the ballpark, but we're excited about what it's going to turn into," LaBranche said.

The city will be responsible for maintenance of the stadium including all field equipment, bases and mowing of the fields.

Joplin will also pay up to $4 million worth of renovations to the stadium.

"Basically what we're doing is we're bringing the ballpark up to modern standards," said Chris Cotton, Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Joplin.  "So we'll have ADA accessible rest rooms, ADA accessible seating, more seats, more concession stands, just the basic amenities we need to host a professional baseball team."

Other terms on the team owner's end of the agreement include not granting any subleases and being responsible for ticket sales, players and all other personnel such as umpires.

The group also has the right to operate all concession stands within the stadium.

The lease will take effect on August 1st of next year.

If the stadium is destroyed by fire or a natural disaster, the lease can be terminated.

And, if the Suarez group violates any portion of this agreement, the city can terminate the lease.

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