City of Springfield to invest $16 million in Hammons Field
The City of Springfield plans to buy a sports stadium. The Springfield Cardinals and Mayor Ken McClure made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at a hotly anticipated news conference.
Hammons Field in downtown Springfield cost $32 million to build back in the early 2000s, a sum worth roughly $51 million when calculated in today’s money.
Now the City of Springfield plans to buy the place, 18 years after the Springfield Cardinals played their first minor-league baseball game there — and a decade after the death of stadium builder and local hotel magnate John Q. Hammons.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said at Wednesday afternoon’s event that he was “proud to announce on behalf of my colleagues on City Council and the city staff that the City of Springfield has reached an agreement with John Q. Hammons Charitable Trust for the opportunity to purchase Hammons Field."
McClure added, "We have also reached agreement with the property owner on the adjacent parking lot to the south, for a package deal of $12 million dollars.”
The city also plans to spend another $4 million in taxpayer funds on improvements to the ballpark. Money for the purchase would come from unrestricted savings in the city general fund and money from the level property tax fund earmarked for "economic vitality."
The Hammons Field proposal is set to go before the Springfield Planning & Zoning Commission next week and must then be approved by City Council. A public hearing on the bill takes place at Council’s meeting next Monday, with a second reading and vote expected February 14th at noon.