BOISE -- The boys of Boise baseball are set to take their places on the field this Wednesday for the Boise Hawks' home opener.
For nearly a year, the management behind the Hawks has been rallying for support to build a new multi-sports stadium, but as the 2012 season starts, they admit they still don't have concrete plans.
The Hawks currently play in Garden City's Memorial Stadium. The facility was built in 1989, and has seen little improvements over the years. The fans have even expressed wanting more from the facility, placing more pressure on the Hawks to either remodel or start new.
Monday, workers at the facility were fixing seats, painting and watering the field as the opening day approaches. They want to make sure everything is perfect for the summer season.
“We don't have a video scoreboard.”
That is just one of the reasons, according to Boise Hawks General Manager Todd Rahr, that the facility is outdated.
The seats have never been replaced, the parking lot doesn’t have nighttime lights, and those seated behind first base, sit under the sun for hours during the game.
Rahr said those are just a handful of examples that make the outdated stadium a point of contention for their major league affiliate the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs have made it clear they will leave Boise behind, if something doesn’t change. Right now the options are either to renovate the current Memorial Stadium to the tune of about $13 million or build a new downtown stadium for roughly $25 million.
If the Hawks opt to renovate their current stadium it will come out of their own pockets, something that financially Rahr said is not easy to do. However if they build a new stadium, complete with soccer and football compatible fields, the Hawks will need money from the community.
“We feel it's not just the Cubs that want a better facility it's going to be any major league team that comes in here that is going to want a better facility,” said Rahr.
Other minor league teams around the country, which play with Boise in the Northwest league, have facilities that Rahr believes are superior to Memorial Stadium. Even after months of serious talk, Rahr still says the future of the stadium is still murky.
“The weakness right now in my mind is just an overall plan,” he said.
This spring Hawks administrators as well as the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, and a number of others, held a press conference in front of Boise city and business leaders trying to start conversations.
Rahr said through this baseball season and by the end of the year, his goal is to have a more defined plan in place that he can present again to the community. He says this will take a team of stakeholders.
“We aren’t looking to get rich off this stadium this one or another one, we are looking for enough money to put back into the project, into the community and make it better for the lives of the people that live here,” said Rahr.
As another season starts up for the Hawks the program stays committed and focused on playing ball but to date, future plans for a competitive facility remain out in left field.
“Every year you still have a season to put on you still have fans to entertain you still have a ball club that you have to put out on the field and develop for the Cubs and so what we have been doing on a day to day basis is no different than what we have been doing for the last 25 years,” said Rahr.
The city of Boise has expressed interest in helping relocate the Boise Hawks stadium. They own land near the connector that would put the stadium in an ideal location, downtown, but recently there has been no action.
The home opener starts at 7p.m.