Commission throws support behind RiverHawks baseball - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Commission throws support behind RiverHawks baseball

Team could relocate squad in time for opening day 2014

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Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 11:23 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - The city of Coeur d'Alene Parks and Recreation Commission is ready to say yes to RiverHawks baseball.

After meeting with representatives of the collegiate summer league team Tuesday, the commission said it would be willing to support the idea of relocating the squad to Coeur d'Alene in time for opening day 2014.

"I say absolutely," said Mike Kennedy, City Councilman and liaison to the parks and recreation commission, the advisory panel that will vote on endorsing the partnership during its Monday meeting. "I'm a big supporter."

The summer league team from Spokane would be the anchor tenant of the estimated $2.7 million baseball field at Cherry Hill Park. Fundraising to pay for the project has begun. Tuesday's workshop was to see if the city, which would own the stadium if it's built, would officially support teaming up with the ball club.

The RiverHawks have eyed moving to Coeur d'Alene for years.

Originally from Spokane, they haven't played a game in years because they can't get a home field in the Lilac City. They also didn't receive much media coverage in the bigger city with more sporting options for the public, and the team couldn't compete financially with bigger franchises like the Spokane Indians.

Coeur d'Alene would be a perfect fit, RiverHawks representatives said, as similar sized markets such as Walla Walla and Wenatchee Wash., have proven successful homes for the wooden-bat summer league.

"That was our intent all along," said Irv Zakheim, RiverHawks owner, on moving to Coeur d'Alene. "Coeur d'Alene fits the kind (of town) that does very well."

The RiverHawks would lease the stadium from the city. The ball club would keep around three employees at the stadium year round, but it would primarily take up around 30 summer evenings for games. What the terms of a lease would be, how maintenance would be split, and who would cover the utility bill, would have to be worked out down the line.

The topic will go before the commission at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Community Room of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

If parks and recreation supports landing the RiverHawks in Coeur d'Alene, the issue would go to another advisory panel, the General Services Committee, then to the City Council in three weeks for adoption.

Having the city's official support should make fundraising easier, said Ron Ouren, baseball stadium fundraising chairman.

"That really excites them," he said of potential donors. "It really makes a big difference."

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  • Mark on the Park posted at 6:53 am on Thu, Aug 16, 2012.

    Mark on the Park Posts: 471

    I'm all for the field as well. I love baseball and would go to the games and pay an admission to see the game.

    My only concern is that none of this costs taxpayers one red cent.

  • ProIdaho posted at 11:23 am on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    ProIdaho Posts: 244

    Humanist and timeless

    To set the record straight, I want this project. I know it will be an asset to this community. I really hope that ALL of the uses that this field has been promised to support can actually be done though.

    I also served on American Legion board for two years and have been involved in one way or another with McEuen field for 5 years. So I know EXACTLY what happens when the city officials promise something and then do not deliver.

    My biggest issue with moving the field and then adding so many other potential teams and uses is of can all the priorities be met with one field. American Legion alone has four seperate teams that all play at one point or another at Mc Euen.

    Don't get me wrong, this field will be an asset to this community. I am 100 percent behind the building of this facility, I just have some reservations as to WHO will have the ultimate priority on the field use.

  • dtsinidaho posted at 11:03 am on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    dtsinidaho Posts: 182

    Any attraction you can bring to a city that draws out of the area families is a good investment. Getting a Woodbat summer leage is a good start, and if promoted correctly can create large influx of cash to the area during tournaments. Hopefully sometime soon we will trade up in leagues to become Semi-pro. A great game, with all the excitement and popcorn and noise is a great place to take a family on a Friday or Saturday night

    I know that many of the e-squatters on the comment pages at the are total anti-social misfits, who can never see the bright side of an idea. All they want is to HATE something. It is too bad, there are some cool things happening in Coeur d'Alene. Come on folks, take a step away from the anger and go down to the lake or river and just close your eyes and realize, you live in a special place, but to be special it has to move forward.

  • Timeless posted at 10:01 am on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    Timeless Posts: 476

    Thanks Humanist for posting M Kennedy's simple yet informative quote.

    The rest of you may want to get the information first, before making ridiculous comments or starting rumors. Spend some time on a committee trying to solve problems, as opposed to posting your uninformed complaints.

    I hope that the fundraising for the "Field of Dreams" is a great success and that CDA has a new baseball stadium in its future! I will be donating to the effort. 😊

  • Humanist posted at 8:44 am on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 2933

    This post from Mike Kennedy on Huckleberries might assist some of you posters below with your questions:

    "Cherry Hill was favored for the location. But it wasn’t going to get the money raised and built in time for 2013. So other options were pursued aggressively to take care of Legion baseball. Person Field needed more remediation than made sense to do, the Legion didn’t want to be on either high school field, and the schools wouldn’t give them schedule priority anyway (that’s another story), a great possible location along the river (Riverstone area) didn’t have traction to get it done financially effectively, etc etc. Other privately owned land was considered, discussed, even approached, but none made sense at the end of the day. Ramsey worked, and worked on the timeline, after negotiation and lots of number crunching. You could theoretically put the following uses on one field: NIC, Legion, Summer Minor League, even some high school uses. But the scheduling priorities are hard to juggle, and that field (15th) can’t get fundraised and built in time for the Legion spring season. Going this route allows Legion to have a home that is theirs (replacing McEuen). Cherry Hill will be an additional field (which is needed) and if there can be an “anchor tenant” that will fill a number of dates there that’s a win."

  • chouli posted at 8:39 am on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    chouli Posts: 1254

    when does it end?
    can we really afford more?
    when do our leaders (for lack of better term) stop and think about the citizen tax payers?
    how about decreasing the budget?!
    apparently we HAVE to have a 14+ million dollar park remake, so how do you continue to add on to the want list?!!
    STOP already.

    and what about the AL league?? when do they get the stadium they deserve and were promised?? it's part of the McEuen remake so let the LCDC fork over the cash for the AL stadium.

  • ProIdaho posted at 8:02 am on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    ProIdaho Posts: 244

    Let the bait and switch game begin.

    "the summer league team from Spokane would be the anchor tenant of the estimated 2.7 million baseball field."

    Hmmmmmmm, where have I read recently that same statement????

    Feb 29, 2012 Cda Press:

    "the primary tenant would be American Legion" said Ron Ouren

    So which is it? The Riverhawks or American Legion?

  • ancientemplar posted at 7:58 am on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1107

    Honestly, did the public really, really expect anything different?

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:32 am on Wed, Aug 15, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Of course they do. Headnodders and brown nosers will do as they are told.

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