JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Joplin leaders will continue negotiating to lure an independent professional baseball team to the city from El Paso, Texas, but the work is far from done.
The Joplin City Council voted Monday night to authorize a memorandum of understanding to work with WLD Suarez Baseball, the owners of the El Paso Diablos.
City Attorney Brian Head told the council the agreement is only an indication that the city will bargain in good faith while ironing out a performance agreement and a lease for Joe Becker Stadium, The Joplin Globe reported (http://bit.ly/1kRKQEC ). A performance agreement will specify the Suarez group's obligations and a lease would detail use of the stadium.
The city is considering a proposal for the city to provide $4 million in renovations to the stadium while the Diablos ownership would invest about $5 million for an entry plaza and parking.
Suarez representative Michael Wray said last month that Joe Becker needs more seating, new lights and new restrooms.
Chris Cotten, Joplin's parks and recreation director, read a letter from Miles Wolff, league commissioner, endorsing the Suarez group and the proposal to move the team to Joplin.
After the meeting, Cotten said he was excited about the council authorizing more work on the deal because, "that is the whole point ... to bring new opportunities to residents: new avenues of entertainment, new avenues of recreation."
The Diablos are part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which includes the Wichita Wingnuts and the T-Bones in Kansas City, Kan.
Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com