Pueblo baseball deal is dead

Posted at 5:09 PM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 19:09:32-04

The downtown redevelopment deal that would have relocated the Orem Owlz minor league baseball team to Pueblo, creating 400 new jobs as the result of $50 million in private investment in new hotels and a downtown stadium has died.County Commissioners Terry Hart and Sal Pace issued a joint statement Monday afternoon stating they will discontinue work on the YES Project. Their full statement follows:After the flurry of activity last week, we have come to the sad conclusion they need to cease working on the YES project We  believe that it was a worthy project for our town because it would have given Pueblo a multi-use stadium, which would have been built by the owner’s own tax payments to our community; we would have received $50-million in new associated downtown private development; it would have allowed us to host multi-state youth baseball tournaments and have a major league affiliated minor league baseball team; it would have provided a wonderful anchor for further development of HARP and downtown Pueblo; and, it would have delivered a huge economic boost to our community.Unfortunately, the project opponents have made the chance of success far too unlikely to move forward. There are other important projects that we need to work on, including the other 1A projects, Fountain Creek water quality, and local economic development projects. We will continue to vigorously fight for our community, even if we are saddened by the end of the YES project.We want to thank all of the wonderful individuals and entities that have worked on this project so diligently for than a year, but it is time to move on.We also feel sad that we are not able to conclude this project with Jeff Katofsky and the Orem Owlz. We wish them nothing but good luck in their future endeavors. They have negotiated in good faith during this process.The decision to change course on the multi-use stadium will not impact other 1A projects. The County will continue to move forward on the Riverwalk expansion, Runyon expansion, and Main Street pedestrian redesign among others.Orem Owlz owner Jeff Katofsky said in a statement there are some within City government who were either unwilling or unable to keep to written and oral promises made to the ownership group during negotiations to relocate the team.  His full statement follows:Previously, we announced a likely deal with the City and County of Pueblo, Colorado, to open a youth sports facility, multiple hotels and a new home for the Owlz. I have always stated that it was a dream and goal of mine to have a youth sports facility for boys and girls to learn baseball, team sports and the leadership and athletic lessons that ensue. I cautioned that the transaction was preliminary and there were a lot of details to finalize the deal. In the end, some within the City of Pueblo, as well as other related governmental agencies, were either unable or unwilling to consummate the written and oral promises that were made to our ownership groups.The impetus for this transaction was multi-purpose. Pueblo Colorado has a beautiful Historic Downtown with a breathtaking Riverwalk and wonderful, welcoming people. From a business standpoint, however, it is stagnant and in dire need of an anchor. Our goal was to invest approximately $50,000,000 in order to revitalize Pueblo through sports, tourism and growth that would bring literally thousands of people to Pueblo weekly during baseball season. In addition, Pueblo would have a multi-use facility for events, concerts, graduations, high school and college games, soccer and a host of exciting community gatherings. Unfortunately, those opposed to this economic juggernaut had the louder voice. For whatever reasons, we seemed to believe in Pueblo more than this outspoken minority.The Owlz will continue to enjoy the most beautiful ballpark in all of Minor League Baseball and its positive relationship with Utah Valley University. We wish our friends in Pueblo success and prosperity.RELATED: News5 Exclusive: How the Pueblo baseball deal went wrong Pueblo County leaders challenge funding for proposed baseball stadium