BOISE-- A group of business and civic leaders has formed the Better Boise Coalition to study possible locations for a new stadium, primarily to house the Boise Hawks.
The city is looking into the possibility of building a new outdoor multi-sport and concert venue. A viability study paid for by the city indicates Boise could likely support that type of stadium, especially for baseball, soccer, lacrosse, outdoor ice skating and hockey, and concerts.
Boise Mayor: 'It has to happen.
Some members of the newly-formed coalition and city leaders say Boise needs that stadium sooner rather than later.
Together and with all of you, this is not only possible, it has to happen, Mayor Dave Bieter said. I'll be straight ahead. The Hawks are looking around. There are other cities that are vying for franchises. There's a window here that we don't want to miss.
Bieter says that window will close in two to three years, and he believes the city should move on the idea immediately.
Immediately, we need to act so as not to lose professional baseball in our area, Bieter said.
Hawks Management: Chicago Cubs could pull out
After today's announcement, you can see that we've been working a lot with them to avoid the possibility that that ever happens, Boise Hawks President and General Manager Todd Rahr said.
Hawks management says they don't want to leave, but the current stadium is uncomfortable for fans, players, and their major league affiliate.
Another major problem is the Cubs. They've said this is a substandard facility in their minds, Rahr said.
Rahr says they're looking at a lot of options for upgrades. He says a renovation would likely cost around $13 million (partially because they would need to come up to ADA compliance).
Based on research and other parks, a new Hawks stadium would likely cost more than $20 million.
The threat of leaving, or being left
Rahr says they're talking to Boise, Meridian and Ada County about options, but so far, Boise is the frontrunner. Rahr hopes an agreement within the Treasure Valley will be reached, and he believes the Hawks will stay.
There are cities in the northwest who want minor league teams, so there is that possibility, but we are going to exhaust ourselves before we ever consider doing that, and that's a long way off, Rahr said.
Rahr says a more realistic and immediate possibility is the Cubs pulling out.
There is pressure from them that they will move out of Boise. We have a two year contract that runs out at the end of the 2012 season. We're guaranteed an affiliation, but the Chicago Cubs is one of the nationally known brands out there that we would definitely not want to lose, Rahr said.
Cubs Chairman to visit Hawks
Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts will be in Boise August 15th.
For more information on the newly-formed Better Boise Coalition, click here.
For more information on the Boise Hawks, click here.