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Hillsboro Gives Approval on Yakima Bears Move

It’s almost official: the Bears are leaving the Valley. The Hillsboro City Council held a special meeting Tuesday and approved a conditional license agreement with the Short Season, LLC, the owners of the Yakima Bears. Though the agreement still needs to be approved by the Northwest League, the President of Minor League Baseball and the office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, no one anticipates any problems with those approvals.

According to Mayor Jerry Willey, “We are delighted and excited about bringing single-A short season baseball to the metropolitan region. It is an opportunity to introduce people to Hillsboro and to provide affordable, family-friendly entertainment. After working with the team and the owners, I know this is going to be a perfect fit for Hillsboro.”

Highlights of the licensing agreement include:

* The team will pay $150,000 per year plus a 3% annual increase throughout the term of
the agreement. The rental period is for 20 years.
* The team will pay the city a $150,000 penalty if the baseball authorities do not
finalize the agreement by September 4, 2012.
* Construction of the new stadium will cost between $13.4 million and $15.2 million.
The city will issue Full Faith and Credit bonds to pay for construction.
* The City will finance, own, manage and operate the stadium.
* All parking revenue will go to the city; currently, the stadium has 1,700 parking
spaces but the city is planning to add 300 – 400 more spaces as a second phase of the
* A ticket surcharge of $1/ticket will go to the city.
* The City will retain 70% of net revenues from naming rights for the stadium, field,
press level and parking areas.
* The team will play 38 home games at the stadium and will also use the stadium for an
additional five team events. The city will have use of the stadium the remainder of
the year and during the season when City activities do not conflict with games/team
* The team will identify ways to encourage fans to use public transportation on game
* Hillsboro will be part of the team name.
* Hillsboro residents will be given hiring preference for baseball jobs managed by the
* By mutual consent of both the city and the baseball authorities, the lease agreement
can be extended up to three times, each for a term of five years.

The Gordon Faber Recreation Complex is operated by the Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department. The 90+acre complex consists of a 7,000-seat multipurpose stadium with 170,000 sq. ft. of FieldTurf all-weather artificial surface and seven softball fields. The complex hosts softball, soccer, football, baseball, lacrosse, special events, and community activities. The complex also serves regional events and activities.

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