Wednesday, December 17, 2008

City Administrator's memo on the delayed Northwoods Baseball League stadium at Frame Park

City of Waukesha, Wisconsin

To: Mayor Nelson
Council President Francoeur
Common Council Members
Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Board Chair Rebecca Roeker
Members of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board
Members of the Plan Commission
Members of the Ad Hoc Baseball Committee

From: Lori Curtis Luther, City Administrator

Date: December 16, 2008

Re: Northwoods League Baseball

Attachments: Letter from Chad Bauer
Letter from Northwoods League

I learned of a potential delay in construction for the Waukesha Northwoods League baseball project last Friday afternoon, which was confirmed in a meeting late yesterday afternoon. This memo and attachments are intended to notify all parties as quickly as possible.

Chad Bauer informed me that the schedule for Northwoods League Baseball will be released to member teams this week and will be publicly released in January. Due to a variety of factors, Waukesha will not be on the schedule for 2009 as anticipated. It is Mr. Bauer’s intent, as referenced in the attached letter, to begin play in 2010.

The key factors that have led to the revised timeline are the recent changes in the economy and specifically the banking industry that have led lenders to require additional capital and equity that was not originally anticipated. My previous review of business plans and initial financing was conducted prior to the current financial crisis. In addition, a shortage and unavailability of construction materials is reported as a significant concern for keeping the original construction schedule regardless of other issues.

Mr. Bauer continues to have League support as indicated in the attached letter. The Use Agreement currently authorized by the Council requires construction to be completed by June 1, 2009. Therefore, a revised Use Agreement and timeline for project completion will be submitted to the Council for consideration and approval prior to the initiation of construction.

It is important to note that the structure of the Use Agreement protected the City from any financial commitment until Mr. Bauer provided final evidence of financial viability for the full $2 million investment. For example, the 2009 Capital Improvement Plan budget of $210,000 for new lighting at Frame Park will not be borrowed or spent unless an amended Use Agreement is authorized by the Common Council. The Use Agreement approved by the Council has not been signed by the Mayor because we were awaiting final verification of financing. Therefore, the City has assumed no liability.

In regard to maintenance, Mr. Bauer has agreed to complete infield improvements and maintain the field at Frame Park in 2009, as previously negotiated and as a matter of good faith. Therefore, the City will not incur unbudgeted maintenance expenses and the field will be in better condition for the high schools, Carroll University and other users next year as planned.

I will continue to keep you updated on the status of this project as any new developments arise.

Note: Regardless of your position on building the stadium, the good news is that Chad Bauer will maintain the field at Frame park in 2009. Also, Luther's memo indicates that because the Northwoods League will not make their deadlines, a new use agreement will have to be created and approved by the city council.