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Edmonton considers Clarke Park turf (Journal)


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Appeared in the CityPlus section in Wed. Edmonton Journal.


$1.5M from Trappers’ sale for Clarke Turf

Councillors don’t agree tentative deal will serve needs of community sports groups


Civic Affairs Writer


City council tentatively agreed Tuesday to spend $1.5 million from the sale of the Edmonton Trappers to put artificial turf in Clarke Stadium.

But some councillors are not sure this scheme is the best way to provide playing facilities for local amateur athletic groups.

“I think Clarke Stadium will be used mostly for premier sports teams and we need to address the needs of all sports teams in the city,” Coun. Karen Leibovici said.

City staff say Edmonton requires at least nine more class-A fields with lights and dressing rooms, primarily for football and soccer. They estimate an artificial surface at Clarke could be used so much more frequently than grass in rain or snow that it would be equal to building six of those fields. The stadium was in operation 285 hours this year.

“There is no question that fall weather impacts field use and certainly impacts the clubs, particularly at playoff time,” said Linda Cochrane, manager of recreation facilities.

But Leibovici questioned whether Clarke could fill the need for six other fields, even with artificial turf.

“How is that all going to fit in one sports stadium, even if you book it back to back?”

She would like facilities put in several spots to meet community needs rather than concentrating on one location.

The city accepted $2 million from the Trappers for terminating their Lease at Telus Field early.

The rest of the city’s money will be set aside to replace artificial turf at Telus Field and do other maintenance.

The Triple A baseball team was sold $10.5 million US by its owner, the Edmonton Eskimos, and moved last month to Round Rock, Tex.

Coun. Ron Hayter is concerned improvements at Clarke Stadium won’t help amateur baseball and slowpitch teams, which he said don’t have enough lighted parks.

“No consideration appears to have been given to them, although this money originated out of a baseball deal.”

Coun. Michael Phair suggested putting some of the $1.5 million targeted for Clarke towards subsidizing the cost of tickets for baseball games at Telus Field.

“If we want to keep baseball alive, one way is to keep tickets low enough so young people can attend.”

Staff will report back to council with more information early next year following consultations to find out whether sports groups and people living around Clarke support installing new turf.


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  • 3 weeks later...
quote:Originally posted by devioustrevor

I think Nolan Ryan overpaid for the Trappers. $10.5M for a Triple-A team?, plus a $2M buyout of the lease? To think, when he played everyone was making such a big deal about Jose Canseco making $5M a year. Nowadays teams have to pay that much to their 5th starter.

Minor league baseball is a big business in the US. No doubt the Esks knew that when they sold the Trappers to Ryan that they would push for a good deal. The Round Rock Express are going to be the Triple-A squad of the Astros.

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