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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 30 years."


 

Step up now.....This is a reminder that the deadline is here for filing to run for the board of directors of the First Colony Community Association. You must apply to run by Friday, Sept. 17 at the FCCA offices, 4350 Austin Parkway. There are three positions open. You only need to be a resident of a subdivision served by FCCA, be current in your dues, and have no outstanding complaints about your property.

The reason I am encouraging you to run is because the current board voted to close 5 pools and spend millions of dollars on “splash pads.” This board obviously needs some new blood and new direction.

A rose by any other name....Do you want Sugar Land’s new baseball team to be called Sugar Land King Canes, Sugar Land Lizard Kings, or Sugar Land Skeeters?

After the names were released, I asked myself if the people picking the final three had been smoking something. Or did someone decide to let their little grandson chose a name?

It is hard for me to imagine that out of 8,000 entries, these three are the best Opening Day Partners could come up with.

From the names of the other teams in the Atlantic League, the league in which Sugar Land will be playing, it is evident that unusual, colorful names are par for the course. Such names as Bridgeport Bluefish, Camden Riversharks, Lancaster Barnstormers, Long Island Ducks, Newark Bears, Somerset Patriots, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, and the York Revolution are the names of the teams we will play. Excuse me, but those names are cute. Some of them you might even want to eat. But King Canes, King Lizards, and Skeeters are neither cute nor edible; they are quite simply...insulting!

Choosing these three names does not bode well for the future of the relationship between the city of Sugar Land and Opening Day Partners, which the city has chosen to manage the new baseball stadium which has yet to be built.

The toe-stumping list of names puts me in mind of the abortive Sugar Fest, ill-conceived years ago to celebrate who knows what during the hottest month of the year, in an open field subject to flooding, and run poorly by a mayor’s haughty wife. (Three strikes.)

These ill-conceived names have made me do a little bit more research into the whole baseball stadium project. I asked city manager Alan Bogard why anyone would go to a minor league baseball game in Sugar Land when the major league Astros play less than 20 miles away in air conditioned comfort.

The bottom line answer from Bogard, and frankly it makes some sense, is that Houston is the largest town in the U.S. with no other minor league teams. He said that most large cities have not only a major league team but several minor league teams. Bogard claimed that a minor league team was inevitable in the Houston area and as long as it was, then Sugar Land should have it as it would provide economic opportunity for businesses near the stadium. (Bogard conveniently neglected to mention or maybe just didn’t know about the failed Bay Area Toros who played in 2007-2009. Texas City also improved an existing stadium to support that team.)

I questioned the financing of the stadium, which will belong to the city of Sugar Land, because I had heard various sums bandied about, from $25 million to $40 million. (Remember what Everett Dirksen once said, “A b(m)illion here, a b(m)illion there and pretty soon we are talking about real money.”)

Bogard related a Byzantine scheme that could only be understood by a hedge fund manager (or Bernie Madoff) whereby the city’s 4A corporation, a non-profit corporation formed to spend the sales tax revenues for economic development purposes, would build the stadium. Johnson Development (developers of Sienna and Riverstone), and Cherokee Investment Partners, would own and operate the stadium parking and develop commercial areas around the stadium with Opening Day Partners then renting the stadium and managing the team.

The location of the stadium is along Hwy. 6, across from the Sugar Land airport. This location was chosen after a deal for the site near U. of H. along the Brazos River fell through. Supposedly, U. of H. wanted $5 million from the city for permission to develop the property. According to Bogard several developers were offered the opportunity to make a proposal to develop the property across from the airport and Johnson Development was chosen. All these proposals are supposedly available for study under the Open Records laws of the state.

I’ve had calls from business people who have said they would never take a client to a game between the Canes, Lizards, or Skeeters.

Me, I should have sent in my name choice--the Sugar Land Chain Gang.

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Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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