Former Oiler leading group hoping to take over Re/Max Field
Published Tuesday, August 13, 2019 11:54AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 14, 2019 10:08AM MDT
Former Edmonton Oilers defenceman Dr. Randy Gregg is leading a group seeking to take over operations of Re/Max Field with plans to turn the river valley ballpark into a multipurpose facility.
“It’s a gem in our community,” Gregg said. “Having it used only 30 to 40 times a year is a travesty.”
Gregg says the city's northern location makes it difficult for full-time professional baseball to work. Instead, he's looking to bring what he calls "high-level baseball" consisting of mostly Canadian players.
The former Oiler leads a group of 19 who say they're open to allowing minor baseball teams to use the field with the intent of developing local players. Gregg says their plan also includes bringing an entertainment element to the ballpark as well.
Originally built in 1995 for triple-A baseball, Re/Max Field has been occupied by the Edmonton Prospects since 2016.
The team's season ended last weekend, the last year of a four-year lease which had included an option for a fifth year in 2020.
In January, the team appealed to the city to extend its lease in return for a series of stadium upgrades but didn't hear back.
The decision on the ballpark will be part of a bigger debate on what the city wants to do with the Rossdale neighbourhood.
The city's latest plan for the Rossdale River Crossing was presented in May of 2019. It calls for more housing, access to water and commercial businesses, including in the present area of the ballpark's parking lots.
Key criteria the city is looking for in Re/Max Field tenant include a year-round usage plan, stadium operations experience, commitment to community access, and transportation and parking plan, according to an April report from the Community and Public Services Committee.
The Prospects and Gregg's groups are the only two parties confirmed to be looking for council's approval.
The Prospects released details of their plan on social media on Wednesday.
The city is expected to make a decision on the matter by mid-September and is looking to sign a 10-year operation agreement.