The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 18, 2014

Council to act on lease deal for Joe Becker

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin City Council will be asked at its meeting Tuesday to approve a lease of Joe Becker Stadium for WLD Suarez Baseball LLC to use for professional baseball.

If approved, the 20-year lease would go into effect Aug. 1.

It gives the Suarez group use of the stadium from then until Sept. 10, 2015, so that work can be done for the team to start playing next year and to cover the first season of play.

After that, the lease is to run during the team’s season from May 1 to Sept. 10 of each year. If the team needs to hold over for a short time after Sept. 10, it can be rented at $500 a day.

The lease does require that the stadium not be used by the team during the week that the Joplin Sports Authority uses it for Premier Baseball in June.

The lease encourages the team owners to end the games by 11 p.m. but requires that the stadium close by midnight and that lights are turned out by 12:15 a.m.

Cost of using the stadium is $150,000 a year to be paid quarterly at $37,500, plus one-third of the costs of the operating and maintenance costs, including utilities.

The lease does not allow Suarez to sublet the stadium. It makes all of the Suarez group’s personnel and players the responsibility of the team owners. Suarez shall be responsible for ticket sales.

Suarez will have the right to operate all concessions in the stadium plaza year-round, will pay all the operating expenses and keep all the revenues of that plaza.

The city will be responsible for the maintenance of the stadium and the renovation or replacement of furnishings and field equipment, including bases, fences and the playing surfaces. City workers will clean the field, seating areas, bathrooms and immediate area surrounding the stadium, dispose of the trash, mow and drag the field, and other duties associated with field maintenance.

In regard to competition, the city agrees that it will not provide any incentives or financial assistance to any other professional baseball team wanting to locate within 50 miles of the city. Suarez, though, has to agree that it understands that the city, as a municipal corporation, cannot refuse to allow any other professional team to use city property if the team is willing to pay rent and fees.

Advertising, naming rights and signs are regulated by the contract. It affords the baseball owners the right to sell advertising, signs and naming rights with the approval of the city; however, existing signs and advertising under contract during the lease period must stay.

The contract requires that the name Joe Becker Stadium be retained.

The city must approve, in writing, any changes to the stadium and will pay up to $4 million to enlarge and update it. That is to include adding seating, installing new lights suitable for night games, enlarging the bathrooms, among other items.

The ball team owners are required to keep public liability insurance. They also must keep business interruption insurance for at least enough to pay the lease payments. They also must buy builder’s insurance to cover the property during the stadium renovations. Worker’s compensation also must be kept in force during the lease period.

There are environmental provisions on the lease in regard to hazardous materials and installation of storage tanks. It gives the city the right to take action against activity that threatens the stadium area or presents a danger.

Terms for allowing the city the right to enter the stadium are included.

If the stadium is destroyed or damaged by fire or some other disaster or casualty, the lease could be immediately terminated.

Additionally, if there is a default on the lease payments or any other violation of the agreement, the city could terminate the lease.

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