Baseball group strikes out with Shumway residents

If proponents of bringing the Class A Yakima Bears to Vancouver think they can win over residents, well, they are off to a slow start. Here’s an email from Terry Weiner, an assistant city attorney, to City Manager Eric Holmes with notes from last week’s meeting of the Shumway Neighborhood Association.

(Weiner serves as the city liaison to the neighborhood.)

From: Weiner, Terry

Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 8:40 AM

To: Holmes, Eric

Cc: Bailey, Judi; Peck, Kerry; ‘Anne McEnerny-Ogle (’; Russell, Drue
Subject: June Shumway Neighbors Meeting

The Shumway Neighbors met on Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 7 p.m. in the VSAA Media Center. The meeting was attended by approximately 15 neighbors and led by Chairperson Anne McEnerny-Ogle, along with Council Members Jack Burkman and Bart Hansen. The following issues were discussed:

Tonya Rulli from the group “Preserve Our Buses” spoke about Prop 1, which would add 0.2% to the local sales tax to preserve C-TRAN bus service levels. She estimated this would cost the average family approximately $50 per year.

Ron Arp from Amplify Group, Inc. and Barbara Kerr from Clark College presented information about the proposed move of the A Baseball team, the Yakima Bears, to Vancouver.

The team is proposing a stadium be built at the site of the existing baseball stadium at Clark. The estimated cost of building the stadium is $23 million. The team is proposing to a combined public/private partnership where the team would pay 30% of the cost and Clark County would pay 70%. The County is considering a 5% entertainment ticket tax to finance construction bonds for the project.

The Bears would be responsible for all maintenance of the facility. Mr. Arp said the team would play 38 home games and the stadium and field would be available for community use the rest of the time. There would be about 20 full-time and 200 part-time jobs created by the move. The stadium itself would be built 18 feet down from surface level, which would provide some mitigation of lighting and sound issues.

The Neighbors expressed several concerns about the proposal:

Financing – whether the County should undertake 70% financing of the project during very tough economic times when the City and County are already financially strapped. In addition, concern was expressed about what happens if the team fails – who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance and operation costs?

Neighborhood Impacts – concerns were discussed about parking, alcohol issues, lighting and noise, particularly with regard to residents of Arnada. Mr. Arp and Ms. Kerr noted that the stadium will seat approximately 3,500 fans, and since the games will be at night, there should be ample parking both in the school lots and on the streets around the school. They did not think parking would overflow into the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Lighting and sound will be engineered to reduce their “bleed over” outside the stadium.

Public process – Anne mentioned there had been no formal outreach program developed by the County in advance of the vote on the entertainment tax.

Several neighbors questioned the wisdom of adding an entertainment tax when many of the local arts groups are struggling to survive.

Questions were raised about whether the team/Clark College would have to apply for a conditional use permit, and if so, would there be a need for a public hearing.

Following this portion of the meeting, a vote was taken and passed stating, “The Shumway Neighborhood Association is opposed to using public funds to finance the proposed Clark County stadium.” The vote passed with only one neighbor voting in opposition.

The Neighborhood Picnic is scheduled for September 18, 2011 at Shumway Park
The Neighborhood Cleanup is scheduled for September 24
Shumway Park Adoption – Anne requested volunteers to assist with cleanup of the park twice a month. Duties would include picking up litter, cleaning the tables and benches, sweeping the bark chips, restocking dog waste bags, and similar light maintenance work.
Councilmember Hansen reported that the crime rate in Leverich Park has dropped 50% since the disc golf course was opened three years ago.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:55 p.m. This is the last meeting before the summer break. Regular meetings will resume in September.

Terry Weiner | Assistant City Attorney | City of Vancouver | P.O. Box 1995 | Vancouver, WA 98668 | ‘ 360.487.8500 | Ê 360.487.8501 |

Confidentiality Notice: This e-mail may contain confidential and privileged information. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify me immediately by replying to this message or telephoning me, and do not review, disclose, copy or distribute it. Thank you.

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