BOISE -- Support is mounting for a new multi-sport and multi-million dollar stadium in Boise, but with the idea still in preliminary research phase. There are many questions about location, size, and, of course, cost.
Business and civic leaders are working to move plans ahead for a possible new stadium that the Boise Hawks could use, as well as other sporting and entertainment groups,and those business and civic leaders say they'll make a public announcement about future plans next week.
When KTVB asked Hawks fans at Thursday night's game for their thoughts on the conceptual drawing, we got different answers, but most people liked the looks of it though almost everyone mentioned they'd like to see some more shade.
Is it needed? Is it worth it?
The City of Boise hired a research company to look into the viability of a new multi-sport and entertainment facility. The study claims the Hawks' current Memorial Stadium is not up to modern ballpark standards. It says it's not big enough, not nice enough, not new enough.
When KTVB asked the same fans if the current stadium is good enough, they had a variety of answers.
No, kind of sub par. Don Cuff said.
I think it is. It's a very nice venue, John Mulligan said.
It's okay, but it is a little bit out of date, Kevin Kirkpatrick said.
The viability study compares the Hawks' stadium with other Single-A, short season ballparks. Right now within their league, the Hawks rank in the bottom half for stadium size, but top half for attendance.
The study claims a new stadium with more seating could boost Hawks attendance by more than 40 percent.
It's surprising the amount of people who've never been to a game. I think this would bring more people out, Kirkpatrick said.
But is more space needed? Right now, the Hawks' average attendance is just under 3,000, which fills up about 80 percent of the seats. On the other hand, the study sites some sell-out games and says the capacity is actually insufficient to accommodate ticket demand.
How much will it cost? Where will it go?
When it comes to cost, the city council says it wants an iron-clad financing structure so no taxpayer dollars are put at risk. Fans agreed. It's not a good time to ask people for more money.
I'd be looking for them to do some creative financing and try not to tax the community as much, Kirkpatrick said.
While no specific financial plans have come out or specific numbers given, other similar sized ball parks top $20 million.
Also, no specifics on location, but one possible site is on Main Street, at 30th, right near the Boise River.
While the priority of a new stadium would be the needs of the Hawks, city leaders have said they want more, as in a multi-purpose ballpark and entertainment venue.
The study concludes other viable uses would be youth, high school and professional sports including baseball, soccer, and lacrosse, outdoor ice-skating and hockey in the winter, as well as non-sporting events like concerts.
Could a AAA team come to Boise?
While the study says it's unlikely in the short-term, researchers believe a more modern ballpark could attract a AAA team. That would take a team willing to relocate, and other AAA parks generally seat more than 10,000 people which would more than double what the city is currently looking at.