Pima County extends Padres’ contract, funds Borderland Theater

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday, to approve an extension for up to one year of the Tucson Padres’ contract to play at Kino Sports Complex. According to the extension sought by MountainStar Sports Group, the owner of the Tucson Padres Triple-A team, MountainStar will pay the Pima County Stadium District $70,000 up front to extend the contract until Oct. 31, 2014.

Supervisor Ally Miller supported the contract and commended County staff for putting a termination clause in the agreement. Under an agreement with the Stadium District, MountainStar would have had to pay the District $35,000 as a termination payment if they had decided not to exercise the option to renew for another year.

The additional $35,000 allows the team to play at Kino Stadium in 2014, should the El Paso stadium not be ready.

Construction is under way in El Paso for a $60.2 million Triple-A baseball stadium, where the Tucson Padres, under a new name, are expected to begin play in 2014. Under a 30-year lease agreement with the city, MountainStar will rent the stadium for $400,000 a year, with the rent increasing 10 percent every five years.

The Tucson Padres played their last home game of the 2013 season at Kino Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 29.

If the El Paso stadium is completed on time and the Tucson Padres are able begin their season there, the agreement between MountainStar and Pima County will be terminated, and the Stadium District will be able to schedule other events at Kino Stadium.

Pima County has lost nearly all baseball due to crony deals cut for former county supervisor Dan Eckstrom.

Also on Tuesday, the supervisors voted to give $10,000 to the Borderlands Theater for “Contingency Fund” support. (See proposal here) Borderlands Theater focuses “on the Latino(a)/Chicano(a) voice as the core voice to nurture and support,” according to the group. The proposal passed on a 3-2, with Miller and Carroll voting.

Carroll attended the meeting by phone.

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