Escondido OKs Ballpark Proposal

The Escondido City Council voted Wednesday night to redevelop an area that would be home to a Triple-A affiliate of the Padres.

The majority of the crowd said a minor league ballpark would bring the community together while making money for a city in need.

“It’s a choice between who wants to grow. Who wants to move into the future," said Escondido resident Mike Hamilton. "We have more boarded up businesses than any other city in the county.”

The 244,000-square foot ballpark is proposed for 15 acres of mostly public land on Spruce Street and would include a restaurant and retail store.

The team called the Portland Beavers currently plays in Oregon.

“ If we get a positive vote from the council tonight that’s all I need to go forward with the Portland club,” San Diego Padres CEO and owner Jeff Moorad said.

Opponents felt the council was rushing their vote and asked them to delay it.

“You need 45 to 60 days, I know that’s a disappointment, I know that's a disappointment there are a lot of strong feeling about this,” said opponent Ray Garrett.

They were also worried about the $50 million price tag.

“Are you willing to take out from the general fund $2 million a year? Because the general fund is what funds police, firefighter, libraries and recreation facilities,” said an opponent.

Because of several significant changes suggested by council members, the group didn't approve the actual agreement presented to them, but instead voted to direct the City Manager to use the agreement as a "template" for a more formal deal, according to our media partners the North County Times.

That deal will be considered Feb. 16.

If final approval goes through, construction would begin in 2012 and would be ready for opening day in 2013.

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