Done deal: Minor League Baseball returning to Pueblo - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Done deal: Minor League Baseball returning to Pueblo

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A well-placed source confirms that the Orem Owlz Minor League Baseball team is coming to Pueblo. The Owlz are the rookie affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. As News 5 first reported in May, County leaders have been in talks with the team owner for months. A formal announcement is scheduled for Wednesday.

This deal represents a substantial investment in Pueblo by the team owner who has committed to building three new downtown hotels and plans to launch a new national youth baseball tournament that is expected to bring 500 families per week to Pueblo from around the country.

The team owner previously told News 5 what most attracted him to the community was the public investment in new youth baseball fields at the Runyon Sports Complex. In 2016, Pueblo voters passed the Youth Entertainment Sports ballot question 1A which let the County keep excess revenue from expiring corporate tax incentives. The ballot issue identified 20 specific improvements where the money was to be spent. That project list included the new youth fields, an expansion of the Riverwalk, and streetscape improvements on Main Street.

RELATED: Orem Owlz owner talks with News 5 about moving team to Pueblo

County Commissioners plan to issue $40 million worth of bonds via tax-exempt Certificates of Participation to begin construction on those capital projects later this year with the 1A revenue being used to repay the debt.

The Owlz will play their home games at a new 2,800 stadium to be built on the north end of the Riverwalk. The County plans to borrow $25 million via taxable Certificates of Participation to pay for construction of the multipurpose public stadium. 

That debt would be repaid through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) with the County pledging all of its future sales and property taxes in the redevelopment zone to the TIF. The City pledged 3 of its 3.7 percent sales tax plus future lodging and property taxes in the redevelopment zone to the TIF.

Pueblo City Council gave unanimous approval Monday to a resolution in support of the redevelopment deal. The last time a major league affiliated baseball team called Pueblo home was during the Eisenhower administration when the Pueblo Dodgers played their home games at what's now called Hobbs Field at the Runyon Sports Complex.

The Owlz are the reigning champs of the Pioneer League which includes the Helena Brewers, who will become the Colorado Springs Sky Sox next season.

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