Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Today's baseball at Frame Park update

Darryl Enriquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the report on the financial impact of a baseball stadium at Frame Park will be available Friday for your weekend reading pleasure. I would hope the city would post it on-line (hint-hint) as well as have paper copies. Either way, I'll be in line Friday with red pencil in hand to give you an analysis by Monday.

Things we can safely expect that will not be in the report: the anticipated costs of litigation, the future cost of people thinking twice before leaving anything to the city in their wills, the number of Waukesha residents that will not be conceived because the green space has been wiped out by an endlessly expanding stadium and parking needs (hey, I didn't want to know this last one either).

I'm also curious what the impact will be on the police department's bottom line. If I remember correctly, at the presentation it was predicted the impact would be negligible, but we'll see if they include that in the report.

Meanwhile, will zoning be the chink in the stadium's armor? Whatever else Northwoods baseball is, it is a for-profit business. Chad Bauer may be a nice guy, and I'm sure his investors are all nice guys (whomever they may be), but they'll be running a business on land that is not designated as commercial. We'll see if the Common Council really wants to attach their names to changing the zoning of Frame Park from "park" to "commercial." And would the zoning change be in violation of the regulations concerning the federal money used to restore Frame Park? How about the bequest from Dr. Frame and those deed restrictions?

Finally, I did mention this once before and it is worth considering. Given the nature of the project and the permanent change it represents, Waukesha aldermen may want to consider putting the idea up for referendum on the September primary ballot. After all, we're not just talking about a one-time improvement to the baseball field. We are talking about a generational commitment to baseball, complete with further expansion of the stadium if the franchise is successful. Perhaps the aldermen should get an actual feel for this community's long-term commitment to making baseball a success at Frame Park.

Who knows? We may just save Chad Bauer and his investors a whole lotta money.