City may have right to seize stadium from Joplin Blasters on Mon - KOAM TV 7

City may have right to seize stadium from Joplin Blasters on Monday

Joplin, MO -

Time is running out for the Joplin Blasters baseball team to pay its rent to the City.

The Blasters have asked the City for financial help.  A Joplin city council member says she would be open to talks of restructuring a lease with the Blasters.  The Blasters' request comes after the team's inaugural season ended with some disappointment, according to Councilwoman Melodee Colbert-Kean.  Kean says rain put a hamper on attendance.

Kean says she hasn't seen details of the Blasters' lease restructuring request, and she's not sure whether she would agree to giving the team more money, if that request was made.  But Kean wants to give the team a chance to negotiate.

"You do hear different things of oh man, it's a little bit hard because we had this rough start.  And so, it's out there, and we're aware of it.  But I just think that we can't made it a win win if we don't be open to at least them presenting," says Kean.

Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm says the team wants to decrease its lease from $150,000 a year to $50,000 a year.  The team would also pay a percentage of maintenance and utility costs for Joe Becker Stadium.

Anselm says if the deal passes, the City might have to make up the $100,000 difference.

"We have, obviously, a fixed seat arena over there now.  So, the City has opportunities to either work with the Joplin Sports Authority, or other people who want to bring perhaps shows or concerts to the City.  If they wanted to rent that facility, then we could possibly take some of those revenues and apply it towards the debt," says Anselm.

The Blasters won't release details of their new lease proposals to the City, but Anselm did release details of one proposal.

"Their request was they would like to, so for their 2015 payment, end it at what they've already paid, so the 75 thousand dollars essentially.  So they want to then move forward next year and start with a 50 thousand dollar schedule," says Anselm.

"We gave a couple of proposals, and the City has those," says Gabe Suarez, CEO of the Blasters.

We asked Suarez about those proposals.

"Well, Sam has them, that's between the City and...I didn't know Sam was actually releasing that information.  But that's something that we're working out with the City to come to a final conclusion," says Suarez.

We again asked Suarez about the proposals.

"I don't know what the City has," says Suarez.

Anselm says the Blasters want the City to forgive their October payment of $37,500 that was due on the first.  The team's CEO says he's waiting for the City to renegotiate a contract before he pays that amount.  But Anselm says if the payment isn't received by Monday, the City has the right to seize the property away from the Blasters.

Anselm says a preliminary date for the council to discuss the Blaster's proposals has been set for October 26th.

The Blasters paid owed fees to the City during three of the four times required:  January, April, and July.

Watch the associated video to view one conversation with Blasters CEO Gabe Suarez.


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