Councilwoman Fixes Lugnuts Lease Deal, Saves Lansing $2 Million
When the Lugnuts kick off their 2021 Spring season they will play at an improved version of Jackson Field through 2038. Last week the Lansing City Council approved the extended lease agreement which will include renovations to this city-owned facility. It appears City Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar was able to save at least two million dollars over the run of the new agreement, compared to a draft from Lansing Mayor Andy Schor’s office.
City Pulse reports “The proposal that was initially presented put the city in a negative position,” Dunbar explained. “Nobody on the Council was going to support that, and the only way to get us in a better position was to negotiate, so that’s exactly what I did, all weekend long, to help fix this deal for the city.”
The Lansing Lugnuts have recently moved to a higher-tier “High-A” league team after Minor League Baseball did a reorganization. MLB mandates require some renovations at stadiums for teams remaining in the league. For instance they are looking at adding locker rooms for women, new batting cages, and upgrading stadium lights to LED technology.
City Pulse reports Among the changes in both Shor’s original proposal and the agreement passed by the City Council:
The contract was extended from 2034 to 2038, making the lease 24 years in total.
The city also agreed to an additional $1.25 million in facility renovations as part of new league requirements. The entirety of those renovation costs will be paid by the city.
The city agreed to waive a $350,000 in minimum payments from the team to the city this year for revenue sharing, which was also part of the existing lease agreement. A clause in the contract allowed the team to dodge that cost in the event of a catastrophe — much like the pandemic. City officials agreed to waive it rather than argue the concept in court.
The City Council President said “I do think it’s a long-term win for the city.” Mayor Andy Schor thinks the deal negotiated was a good deal for Lansing, and good for the Lugnuts since they took on added costs as well.
The Lugnuts have been a part of the City of Lansing for 25 years, and help drive economic growth. This deal is a win-win for Lansing and the Lugnuts. Summer nights at the old ball park in Lansing will continue for many years to come. And the kickoff to the season is right around the corner.
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