PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Earlier this month, Mayor Charlie Hales announced the return of baseball to the City of Portland. Wednesday, city officials approved plans for a stadium renovation.
A wood bat college summer league will soon call Walker Stadium at Lents Park home.
“It’d be great for the neighborhood,” Victor Pruis, a frequent visitor to the park, told KOIN 6 News.
City officials agree, the stadium isn’t in great shape, and in recent years it has housed its share of unwanted activities. That’s why they’ve started to draft plans for a variety of renovations.
“It’ll help out the whole environment and everything,” Pruis said. “People will have fun and enjoy.”
The team will be paying for a big chunk of the renovations itself, about $400,000. The City of Portland will be putting in $250,000 towards the repairs.
“I also think it just puts Lents on the map,” Patrick Quinton with the PDC said. “People will begin to realize where the neighborhood is and what the potential of the neighborhood is.”
In addition, the team will pay the city rent of $200 a game, and if they’re still around after 2020, the city will get 5% of their profits. If naming rights are sold to the stadium, Portland will get 50% of that cash.
“We are going to invest a lot of money in Lents over the next few years and we’re looking to create a complete neighborhood,” Quinton said.
The city has been working to revitalize the Lents neighborhood for some time, and the PDC hopes baseball will bring in people, and with them, business.
While many people, including members of the neighborhood association, said they’re all for the project, others have already expressed concerns.
“First thing that comes to mind, parking,” Mating Johnson said. “I don’t know if that baseball field is going to be the answer to what they need over here.”
But baseball and stadium renovations are just part of the puzzle — several new developments are in the works in the area including apartments and a new brew pub.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow the development.