With entrepreneur Mark Houser still trying to get a minor league baseball stadium and team off the ground in Woodstock, I keep looking for what’s happening in other parts of the country.
You may remember that Heartland Community College in Normal (next to Bloomington) pulled off what McHenry County College could not. (Houser was the one pushing the MCC stadium.)
Heartland now has a minor league baseball stadium on its campus.
Patrick Wade writes in the (Champaign) News-Gazette on the economic impact of the Heartland stadium:
“Crystal Howard, the director of the BNCVB, said the Normal team had an economic impact of $300,000 in its first year. That seems like a minor dollar amount considering the Illinois High School Association wrestling state championships is estimated to bring in $5.1 million to Champaign County during the one weekend it’s in town.”
Both the Bloomington-Normal Convention and Vacation Bureau and Avon, Ohio, Mayor Jim Smith described the minor league baseball teams and stadiums as “quality of life,” rather than economic boosters for their communities.
In Avon the taxpayers are paying for the $13 million stadium. The bond payment is $600,000 a year, while the team pays $250,000 annually. The subsidy comes from a quarter of one percent income tax.
The stadium is privately owned, but it is built on community college land and I think I remember some parking lot subsidy from the city of Normal.