May 20-21, 1999

ITEM 103-1019-R0599: Baseball Park Construction and Operating Lease Agreement with the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation Foundation and Play Ball Missoula, The University of Montana-Missoula

THAT: The University of Montana proposes to enter into negotiations with the Missoula Area Economic Development Foundation (The Development Foundation), a wholly owned non-profit, tax exempt affiliate of the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation, and with the Play Ball Missoula group for the purpose of constructing a baseball park at the University's South Campus; and for operating the stadium as a site for the new Missoula Osprey minor league baseball club, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a major league baseball team.

EXPLANATION: The Development Foundation and Play Ball Missoula have proposed to construct a new baseball park in conformity with national minor league baseball standards, solely at The Development Foundation expense through the issuance of bonds and private donations to be raised by Play Ball Missoula. The latter organization, which is comprised of a broad cross-section of Missoula business and civic leaders, is presently in the process of incorporating under Montana law, probably as a non-profit entity, for the purpose of maintaining and managing the baseball park once it is built. The baseball park will be donated to and owned by the Montana University System once it is constructed, without any financial obligation or cost to the University System. The Development Foundation and Play Ball Missoula will also include as part of the ball park construction activities the construction of numerous (between 800-1,200) paved parking spaces at and around the ball park site on the South Campus. In addition, The University of Montana will have significant ball park facilities use rights, including University intercollegiate athlete access to the new ball park's clubhouse locker, shower and training facilities; and also including access to the ball park itself for University baseball club and possibly intramural softball or other related sports and recreation activities. The estimated value of these permanent improvements to the University's South Campus is at least $6 million. The Development Foundation and Play Ball Missoula will finance all necessary construction and maintenance costs in connection with this project; and will also finance any legally required environmental impact statements or studies, as well as the obtaining of any necessary permits. The University of Montana Committee for Campus and Facilities has unanimously endorsed this project. Final approval of the project will be contingent upon a mutually acceptable set of agreements by the University, The Development Foundation and Play Ball Missoula regarding all aspects of the project and activities described herein. The parties hope to have the ball park facilities fully constructed and operative within the next two years.


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