A feasibility study on whether or not to move forward with a new baseball stadium in Regina will not be moving ahead.
Regina’s executive committee voted 7-3 against committing $100,000 to the study. Councilor Bob Hawkins said during debate that baseball diamonds are not a high priority in the city’s recreation master plan.
The Regina Red Sox were supposed to be the main tenant in the new facility. Vice-President and General Manager Bernie Eiswirth was critical of the committee’s decision, saying if it were a football stadium, it wouldn’t have been a debate.
“That’s what they did with Mosaic (Stadium), they put together a committee, they had the Riders, they had the city (and) various levels of government on a committee, they had private industry, and they put together a plan and a package with money from the province, money from the city and money from private industry along with the Riders,” Eiswirth said. “That’s exactly what we did, we’ve never said we wouldn’t pay for part of it.”
After some comments that were made during the meeting, Eiswirth says it’s important to note the Red Sox are a community based team.
“I think I heard one of the Councilors say ‘why would we build a stadium for a pro team?’ We are not a pro team. Nobody makes any money,” Eiswirth said. “I’m the Vice-President and General Manager, I don’t get paid. I’m a volunteer for the last 16 years along with (Red Sox President) Gary Brotzel. We’re community based, we put all of the money that we get for the team back into the team, back into the coffers, back into the community.”
Eiswirth says he questions the city’s interest in supporting local baseball, adding anything recently added to Currie Field was paid for by the team.
“We put in a garage where we sell our beer out of, store a bunch of stuff, and we built two corporate decks for entertaining people at games,” Eiswirth said. “We built a ticket office. That’s all done by the Red Sox, not by the city.”
Some renovations were completed before the 2005 Canada Summer Games, including new mesh behind home plate, new dugouts and a new fence, but the facility as a whole is showing its’ age according to Eiswirth. He adds Currie Field currently has issues with the concession facility, bathrooms, and stands. They are also in violation of a Western Canadian Baseball League rule because Currie Field only has one dressing room instead of two.
Requests for comment from Regina Mayor Sandra Masters were not answered by Wednesday evening.