Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bauer tells Phoenix Hts residents the county suggested Frame Park for stadium

Northwoods Baseball League team owner Chad Bauer spoke to a group of Phoenix Heights residents regarding the proposed stadium at Frame Park and the possible start of Northwoods League games at Frame Park in 2011. In audio obtained by the Wigderson Library & Pub, Bauer told the Phoenix Heights residents that he originally approached Waukesha County to build a stadium at the County Expo Grounds but was turned down. They pointed him in the direction of the city and Frame Park, telling him that there was already an existing facility there. Bauer did not say who at the county directed him to Frame Park as a location.

One resident, Marty Larson, asked Bauer if he had lined up the necessary funding to begin the construction as scheduled this fall. It was financing issues that prevented Bauer and the Northwoods League from starting construction last winter as planned.

(As a side note, the mayor told me on a previous occasion he would not be in favor of granting approval again for the stadium if the proposed team did not demonstrate adequate financial backing. The proposed stadium at Frame Park was conspicuously absent from the mayor’s state of the city address, despite the mention of several other city parks and city park programs.)

Bauer told the Phoenix Heights residents he is still working on the financing of the team and the construction of the stadium but he was confident that would be achieved. “One way or another it will be happening.”

When asked about parking by the Phoenix Heights residents, Bauer told them that he, too, was concerned when he first looked at the site at Frame Park. However, he said people would come from downtown, claiming that they walk that far to go to Milwaukee Brewer games.

One of the residents disputed that point, saying it’s one thing for them to walk that far for a Brewer game. However, at the level of the Northwoods Baseball League, why would people walk that far when they could just park in the Phoenix Heights subdivision and cut through their yards?

Bauer responded by wondering aloud whether people could be “conditioned” to use the sidewalks. This was met with skepticism from the residents.

Bauer also told the Phoenix Heights residents that games could go to 11:00 PM, even though a city ordinance would currently prohibit that. Parks currently close at 10:00 PM.

He predicted that “rowdy crowds” would be “seldom” saying they would be attracting a different fan base than the Madison Mallards. He also said that he anticipated the crowds would “trickle away” rather than leaving all at once.

Later Waukesha resident Steve Edlund brought up the question again later asking Alderman Hernandez if the city ordinance will need to be change. The alderman replied that the 10:00 PM closing wasn’t enforced now.