Madison inching toward agreements that could lead to a minor league baseball stadium

MADISON, Ala. - Madison is rounding the bases now in an effort to score a minor league baseball team that can play in a stadium proposed in the Town Madison development. Monday, the city council did not vote on key agreements but we have now learned the parties could finalize them any day.

Where are they in the process right now?

Mayor Paul Finley said the 30-year venue lease and management agreement with Ballcorps is nearly finalized. It has been negotiated, and the legal team is hammering out the last small details. The council has already voted to give the mayor approval to sign that agreement.

So when could that happen?

"As soon as tomorrow, and as soon as two weeks," said Finley. "They are trying to make sure they have as much as they need for revenue. We are trying to make sure we do too, while also building the right type of venue."

The council and mayor are looking at a $46 million cost for a stadium, but an initial design came back higher. Right now, Finley said they have value-engineered a design down from that higher cost to $46.6 million, with some soft costs that are still in question.

"We have made significant progress to get it to that point," he said.

The work continues on value-engineering and finding wiggle-room. Currently, the cost does not meet the criteria that the council gave to not use money from the general fund to fund the project.

Also moving forward-- Madison is working to finalize its development agreement with the property owner. The parking lot is included in the agreement with Town Madison. The access road isn't yet, Finley said, but they're still working on that detail.

The Town Madison Cooperative District agreement must also be amended to include other infrastructure portions and some other terms, including the interest rate and length of the agreement, that are still in negotiation.

Finley said the stadium would jump-start Town Madison not just by making it a "destination spot," but because it could provide a funding source for the city to spend the new money for schools and infrastructure.

Consultants explained a feasibility study on Monday, too.

What's Next?

Finley believes that the agreements that still need to get through the council, and a warrant validation first read Monday that would trigger funding for the venue, could all be wrapped up in two weeks.

"I would think that by February 26, pretty much everything that needs to be done can and will and should be done. We've known all along it would be a process. If by the 26th, we still don't have all our answers, then we probably don't have the answers that we need to move it forward," he admitted. "It's continually a work in progress. We're not going backward, and that's the good news. We are continuing to progress in all aspects to get to a decision that works for all of the entities."

Finley said the council is working to make the best decision.

"We have had a ton of feedback from folks, and given a ton of information," said Finley. "This council and mayor fully recognizes the significance of what could occur."

The whole project would be contingent on Ballcorps getting approval from the Southern League, Minor League Baseball, and Major League Baseball to relocate a team to Madison.