KOKOMO, Ind. – The mayor of Kokomo said he expects the city will see a big boost from an amateur baseball team that will start playing in its new downtown stadium next year.
The yet-to-be-named Kokomo team will be part of the Prospect League, which features top collegiate players during the summer months and includes teams in the Indiana cities of Terre Haute and Richmond.
Team owner Mike Zimmerman of Milwaukee-based MKE Sports & Entertainment said Tuesday he decided to pursue locating the team in Kokomo after spending time in the city and attending a local youth baseball game.
“The energy of the community with their love for sports and the revitalization project currently underway downtown is the perfect storm,” he said. “It’s a real recipe for success.”
MKE will pay the city a minimum of $22,500 for the use of Kokomo Municipal Stadium with various incentives that could boost that total to $100,000 a year during its five-year lease.
MKE Sports will be responsible for the stadium’s maintenance and utility bills, the Kokomo Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1oADuGV ).
Construction began in recent weeks on the stadium, which will have about 2,300 seats and 1,500 spots for lawn seating.
The stadium is part of the city’s $9 million project, which includes spending $2.5 million on flood-prevention measures along Wildcat Creek. The neighborhood was hit hard by April 2013 flooding that damaged more than 300 homes around the 45,000-person city about 40 miles north of Indianapolis.
Mayor Greg Goodnight said landing the baseball team “is about bringing family entertainment into the heart of our city in creating pedestrian activity in the afternoon and evening around Kokomo Municipal Stadium.”
The stadium is also expected to be used for high school and youth league baseball teams. Officials said it is designed to hold a regulation-sized soccer field, and could be used for concerts and other community events.