City moves ahead with baseball negotiations

Baseball fans will have to wait a little longer to find out if professional baseball is in Grand Junction’s future.

After meeting in executive session for more than an hour Wednesday evening, the Grand Junction City Council scheduled a vote for the Oct. 17 council meeting.

“We met in executive session regarding the future of a (minor) league baseball team moving to Grand Junction,” Mayor Tom Kenyon said during the council’s open meeting. “We authorized the city manager to move forward with the negotiations.

“We’re excited about the opportunity and will be hearing more about it in the near future.”

City Manager Laurie Kadrich has been in negotiations with the Monfort Investment Group, which owns the Casper Ghosts, the Rookie affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

The investment group is headed by Dick and Charlie Monfort, the general partners of the Colorado Rockies. That group bought the Ghosts in January.

Wednesday afternoon, Tim Ray, the executive director of the Casper Ghosts, sent an email to the Casper Star Tribune about a meeting with Grand Junction officials, the newspaper reported on its website.

“We have heard from the city of Grand Junction regarding the potential for a move to that city. At this time, we have agreed to listen to their offer and further evaluate the possibilities,” the paper quoted the email as saying.

A statement from Kadrich’s office Wednesday night said an item requiring a vote of the City Council is expected to be placed on the Oct. 17 agenda.

The statement said no interviews will be granted until after the item is heard at the council meeting.

If the city is successful in landing the franchise, it could begin playing at Suplizio Field in June 2012. The sports complex in Lincoln Park is currently in the midst of an $8.3 million upgrade.

Should the Monfort group move the Ghosts, it will have to pay the city of Casper a reported $200,000 exit fee, plus a $9,000 exit fee to the Casper American Legion baseball program, which subleases Mike Lansing Field to the Ghosts. The City of Casper owns the field and leases it to the legion program.

The Ghosts have been in Casper since 2001 and are in the midst of a five-year contract with the city.



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