The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security reportedly sent letters within the last month to the City of Kokomo, telling them to stop construction on the new $11.5 million baseball stadium because the site is in a flood-prone area of town along the Wildcat River. The summer collegiate Kokomo Jackrabbits (Prospect League) are supposed to begin play in the new ballpark next season. Read more here.
FEMA Tells Kokomo to Stop Building Ballpark
Filed under Design & Construction, Stadium Issues
11 responses to “FEMA Tells Kokomo to Stop Building Ballpark”
There is not much more here on the Kokomo situation, but it gives you a little more perspective:
Wow! With an $11.5 million project on the line one would think this issue would have surfaced in the due diligence or permitting phases, not during construction. This will be very interesting to follow. Do the Jackrabbits have a plan B if their stadium isn’t available in 2015? Will the City of Kokomo risk costing the State of Indiana millions of dollars in federal aid? This is one of the more interesting stories I’ve seen in a while.
Footnote: Several weeks ago I made a comment that a new stadium for a collegiate team would be in the $10 to $20 million range. I was told that I was high, that $3.5 million was plenty for a decent collegiate facility. Here’s one in my column. I realize people can now do amazing things with 3-D printers, cardboard and duct tape, but I wonder how many fans would enjoy watching a game at the $3.5 million stadium.
With an existing field to renovate, I could do it for as little as $1.5 million and regularly pack the place with 1,000-1,500 fans, which is plenty to turn a profit for a summer collegiate club. You start with the basics and add a new amenity each year, like a new deck or rail seating. Big Top Baseball (Madison Mallards, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, Kenosha Kingfish and Green Bay Bullfrogs) have been very good about starting with little and slowly building it up to meet fan needs. Below is an example of a very basic, relatively new park that works very well for summer collegiate ball:
Yes, it’s not the Taj Mahal, but the blueprint would serve numerous modest-sized communities very well. New, functional, welcoming and cost-effective. You can easily build atmosphere around it with banners, music, lights, food, cool vantage points, mascots, etc.
So I looked at the pictures of Bill Taunton Stadium, and yes, that looks like it would do the trick. Who owns it, and what’s the asking price? Do you have any idea what it’s worth or how much has been invested in it?
I believe the city owns it. The grandstand was built for around $450k, as I recall, through a contract with Dant Clayton. I believe the price tag for the combination restroom/concessions building was around $500k. The patio down the first baseline and rail seating down the 3rd baseline were added later. I am not sure who paid for those upgrades or how much they were.
OK. Let’s say we’re talking about a stadium just like this one, for a price of about $2 million. If I do my math right, financing this would be about $10,000 a month. Do you think you can swing this with your 1,000 to 1,500 average attendance, and still make a profit? Put in your own numbers, but I don’t think there are many situations where this works.
(Sure, if you’re sitting on a huge wad of cash from somewhere else, do whatever you want, but I’m talking about buying or financing a stadium from your own baseball operations.)
Most of the time this is done by the city building and owning the facility. As an operator you usually wouldn’t want to own the facility and the team. The team owner would be making a yearly or monthly lease payment for use.
Styth, exactly! That was my whole point in the original conversation. Owning a stadium and running a team together is the exception and not the rule.
I don’t think anyone was debating whether or not it was the exception, not the rule. Here is the original discussion:
That said, unless you are “sitting on a huge wad of cash,” I wouldn’t take on the added risk of borrowing that kind of personal money to build a ballpark, assuming a person could even borrow it.
Don’t forget that ballpark ownership can also result in a number of other added expenses that can hit your budget, like property taxes and facility maintenance. Of course, these expenses should be contemplated in a any comprehensive business plan.
Lakeshore also has a very nice stadium that costed around $3 million.
$10 million is not necessary for summer collegiate baseball.
So how did we get to this point? I believe the city will own the Kokomo ballpark not the Jackrabbits. And $10 million is still not necessary for a new ballpark for a summer collegiate team.