By Elsa Maxey
The home plate at the Sugar Land Skeeter’s StarTex Power Field is in place officially marking the ceremonial groundbreaking of the minor league professional baseball stadium set to open next year at around this time. Minor league baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson was unable to make it to the groundbreaking due to illness. He has also been involved with making history in Sugar Land with what began as the formal signing of an agreement with Opening Day Partners less than a year ago.
The groundbreaking this week took place at the site across the Sugar Land Regional Airport, where the land is undergoing transformation. It is to the northeast of U.S. Highway 90A on State Highway 6 and these days one can see the clearing for the stadium and ball field taking place on what seems like a daily basis.
This ball park district is part of the Imperial Project, which includes other districts such as the former sugar factory refinery site currently being cleared for redevelopment.
The Sugar Land city council awarded a $27.9 million contract to Barton Malow/Linbeck recently as the design/build contractor for the construction of the baseball stadium, which is scheduled for opening in April 2012.
The city reports that the stadium will be funded with a portion of sales tax revenues that may only be used for economic development purposes and states that no general fund tax dollars will be spent on the stadium.
According to the city, a cost-benefit analysis by Conventions, Sports & Leisure International conservatively estimates the project will generate economic activity annually of approximately $7.7 million or a net return of $169 million over 30 years on the investment of the city and ODP.