Elizabethton City Council may reach agreement Thursday with the Minnesota Twins on Joe O'Brien stadium upgrades

John Thompson • Oct 9, 2018 at 11:34 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Will the Joe O’Brien Baseball Field renovations reach home Thursday?

After a couple of years of negotiations between the Minnesota Twins and the Elizabethton City Council over the renovations, a resolution may be reached Thursday when council members decide whether to approve the Principles of Agreement between the city and the Major League team.

The renovations are needed to bring the clubhouses into compliance with Minor League minimum standards.

The agreement calls for the construction of a new clubhouse for the Elizabethton Twins, the city-owned Appalachian League team; upgrades to the current home team clubhouse to convert it to the visiting team clubhouse; and new backstop padding. The conversion of the current clubhouse will be completed by the city. The rest of the projects will be new construction.

The total cost of the construction is estimated at $2,322,110: Elizabethton’s share of the cost would be $1,521,310, and the Twins’ total would be $800,800.

The Twins’ share includes $300,000 for the training equipment for player development. This would include training tables, training supplies, weight room equipment, hydro therapy tubs, laundry equipment and food service equipment.

The remaining $500,000 of the Twins’ payment would be divided into 10 installments of $50,800 to be paid at the start of each season for the next 10 years.

Because the Twins’ payments will be delayed, the city would place its total share plus the total delayed amount, for a total of $1,972,110, in an escrow account.

The agreement calls for efforts to be made to have the work substantially completed by May 15, 2019. Burleson Construction Company would enter into a contract with the Minnesota Twins to do the work.

The agreement also calls for the Twins to assist in bringing in a third-party operator to assist the city in ballpark operations.

The new Twins clubhouse would also be used as the clubhouse for Elizabethton High School’s baseball team.

The city’s funding for the agreement would come from the 2017 bond issue of $2,628,539.63 the city received.

The City Council voted on Aug. 10, 2017, to designate $1.5 million of the bond issue for the stadium upgrade.

The split of the bond proceeds changed in the past year, with the plan to upgrade the Elizabethton Police Department taking a share of $1,016,026. The City Council would be asked to once again change the bond proceeds distribution, with the entire amount designated for the police station renovations being zeroed out and transferred to the stadium project.

City Manager Daniel Estes said the decision to change the bond distribution was made because of the short timeline for the stadium project. “We need a solution as quickly as possible,” Estes said.

Other losers in the bond proceeds redistribution would be the proposed sports arena in the Cherokee Industrial Park. The arena had been designated $254,010 from the bond issue. The proposal would take back $200,000, leaving the project with $54,010.

The Covered Bridge project would be reduced by $52,682, from $203,208 to $150,526. Another $252,602 would be taken from other capital projects.

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