A company that stages and promotes youth baseball events has proposed to lease and manage Joplin's Becker Stadium and other city baseball fields.
The Joplin City Council on Monday is to consider a lease proposed by Parkwood Tournament Co., a limited liability company. Principals of the company are Mike Greninger, Bobby Landis and Don Patty, according to city documents. Greninger and Landis earlier this year sought revisions from the city on COVID-19 restrictions regarding attendance at the city baseball fields where they staged youth baseball tournaments.
Terms of the proposed lease are similar to past agreements the city has had with two different professional baseball groups. Both of those operations failed.
In this case, the company proposes to schedule and collect fees for the use of the stadium and three baseball fields. Those fields are the Wendell Redden Stadium, Gabby Street Field and Bassman Softball Complex.
The contract requires Parkwood to cooperate in providing dates for current users such as the Joplin Sports Authority and Outlaw baseball as well as staging the company's own events. The city would be paid $55,000, split into monthly payments of $6,111.11, from February through October with use extending from February to November.
An initial term of the lease would run for three years and rent would increase 3% the second and third years. There would be an option to renew. City officials could terminate the lease with six months' notice or with a one-year notice if an affiliated, independent or semiprofessional team agrees to play at Becker Stadium.
According to the provisions of the contract, the rights to Bassman Complex would be limited to Friday through Sunday. It could be used for playing baseball and softball, baseball and softball practice, promotional events, ticket and merchandise sales, and related baseball/softball events.
While the city would retain all naming rights to the fields and stadiums, the tenants could sell advertising and keep the revenue from that as well as the operation of concession stands.
Becker Stadium, the historic stadium where the Joplin Miners and players such as Mickey Mantle once appeared, was rebuilt for $5 million in 2014 when city officials sought a professional baseball team to play there. The city borrowed $2 million to help pay for the project. That debt was paid off last year.
The city previously contracted with owners of the Joplin Blasters, a team of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, to stage professional baseball in the stadium. The Blasters failed financially and pulled out in 2016. Joplin later inked a contract for professional baseball with a Texas-based promoter, Ventura Sports Group, but that organization pulled the plug in early 2019 when it could not get enough teams fielded.
The ordinance that would authorize the agreement with the Parkwood group is an emergency measure, which means it would go into effect immediately with council approval rather than being held over for second and third readings. The purpose of the emergency designation, according to the city documents, is so that the tenant can begin planning for next year's season.