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Should Escondido Build Minor League Baseball Park?


Tonight, the Escondido City Council will decide whether to spend $50 million to build a minor league ballpark for the Padres Triple-A team. What could the City of Escondido gain in return for the $50 million investment?

Tonight, the Escondido City Council will decide whether to spend $50 million to build a minor league ballpark for the Padres Triple-A team. What could the City of Escondido gain in return for the $50 million investment? How much will the Padres commit to the construction and maintenance of the baseball park? And, who will receive the revenue from ticket sales and concessions? We speak to former State Senator Steve Peace, who is working with the investors proposing the project, and to Escondido City Councilmember Olga Diaz about the arguments for and against building the ballpark.


Steve Peace, senior advisor to the Moorad Group, and a former California State Senator

Olga Diaz, Escondido City Councilmember

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Taking the family out to the ballpark can cost a couple of hundred dollars for fans of professional baseball. Could Escondido offer a more affordable alternative? I'm ALISON St. John coming up on These Days, the Escondido city council will vote tonight on whether to enter an agreement with the Murad group which owns the San Diego Padres. The question is, should the city commit to spending $50 million to build a minor league ballpark on city land close to downtown Escondido? Is it a good bet for the city, and why would the Padres be willing to invite another professional team into their territory? We'll talk about that. And the controversial sunrise power grid broke ground last week, but is it a done deal? Opponents say they won't give up. We'll get the late of the on this week's political fix. That's all ahead on These Days. First the news.

Listen listen on KPBS, I'm ALISON St. John sitting in for Maureen Cavanaugh. Fans of professional base ball may have another venue in San Diego County to take the family besides Petco Park. The city of Escondido is considering whether to spend $50 million to build a ballpark for a triple A team on a 50-acre hot on public land just north of the city center. The city has been considering the idea for months and tonight they'll vote. We'll talk about the proposal this hour with a member of the Escondido council, but first we'll hear from Steven Peace. Steve is the former state senator, and is now senior advisor to the Murad group, that's headed by Jeff Murad who now owns the San Diego Padres. So Steve, thanks so much for being with us.

PEACE: Thank you. Appreciate it.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Tell us about this triple A affiliate that Murad's considering buying and why Escondido would be a good place for a stadium.

PEACE: Well, the Padres have taken a very interesting and aggressive notion about bringing a triple A team into their own territory. Major league teams can prohibit minor league teams to locate within a hundred mile radius of their ballpark. So Escondido and owl of San Diego County is within that area of control for the Padres. And this is something that Mr. Murad thought about when he was running the Arizona team and thought about bringing a triple A team into the Arizona territory, the Phoenix territory. But did not do it that time. So he's been thinking about this for quite some time, and when the opportunity presented itself as a result of the portment franchise being put on the market, he began the process in looking throughout North County to see if we could identify a site in one of the North County cities that -- where the proposal would make economic sense for the community as well for the ball club, and Escondido is where we landed.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So this is a team that's currently based in Portland.

PEACE: That's correct.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And would it be renamed if it came here?

PEACE: Oh, absolutely. In fact, the team the current owner has already agreed to allow -- they've lost their -- the ballpark has been converted in Portland into a soccer stadium. So this team am play in Tucson this year. And presumably partner all of the following years, temporarily, assuming Escondido has decided to bring the team to San Diego.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And why would the Padres actually invite another team into their district as it were? Isn't that gonna be competing for fans.

PEACE: Actually, it's just the opposite of it's an opportunity to introduce the fans to the young talent as it moves through the system. Triple A is the highest level of minor league ball, in a small media market environment where you have to invest in young players and be successful on the field. It's an opportunity for people in the San Diego area to be introduced to those players earlier in their careers. So that as they move their way up, they anticipate them coming to San Diego. So actually, the team sees this as an opportunity to create a more intimate relationship between the fan base and the team. Also anticipate a very robust cross marketing between the minor league team and the major league team, and it puts the Padre flag in North County as sort of a base of operations to reach out and be more aggressive community partners with our schools and service clubs and all kinds of community outreaches that are the -- really the hall marks are minor league baseball is a totally engrained, deeply, aggressively involved in community events and outreach and everything from service clubs to nonprofit groups to schools and that sort of thing. So they see it as a real positive for the parent ball club.

THE COURT: So what's the business plan here? I mean, what is the city of Escondido gonna contribute to the project and what would the Murad group contract.

PEACE: Well, the Murad group investment -- the ball club and collateral development investment and everything, with a minimum of $35 million. Because the Murad group has assumed responsibility for all coast overruns. The city investment is a hard capped $50 million. Of the and then operationally, the Murad group assumes 100 percent for the operation costs, as well as maintenance. The community site investment is a very fixed amount. The current bondable capacity of the redevelopment district in Escondido is about 75 million. The council and the city managers made it very clearly they are only willing to invest 50 million of that 75 million. So none of the investment on the city site is based on any new development or new generation of tax increment. It is purely out of what their current property tax yield is off of the current environment if nothing new were built. That means that they can comfortably make that investment and then plan for the collateral development and all the additional tax revenue that comes as a result of that will be new revenue. That's kind of a lesson learned from some of other efforts along this line in redevelopment districts where communities sometimes had very good projects but because of the unpredictability of the economy, their ability to service their debt will be compromised because development didn't happen as fast as they hoped they would. So Escondido has created a business plan that absolutely forecloses that possibility.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So it all depends from the city's perspective about how well the development goes on around that ballpark. And we'll be speaking with a member of the Escondido city council about that later. But I think I need to ask you, you know, minor league ballparks built in lake Elsinore and Rancho Cucamonga have failed to live up to projects of what they would do to benefit their communities of so what's the suggestion that this ballpark would do any better.

PEACE: Well, there's hundreds of ballparks over the country, and there are more successful examples than unsuccessful examples. But if you went to the people in Elsinore, they would argue with you as it being portrayed as unsuccessful. They're very happy with the ballpark. Their development is actually coming on line. But they made a decision about location that we disagree with, that we think had a consequence in terms of how long it's taken to development. If you recall, the Elsinore project was driven by a developer who was looking for an opportunity to build a fledgling new town. One of the reasons the Escondido project or location is attractive is because it's immediately next to and part of the traditional Escondido downtown. We don't want to build a ballpark in a distant area unconnected to the downtown such as the Elsinore project. We want this ballpark to be robust and activated the day it opens, 18 or 24 months from now. And that means parking in just like we do at Petco, parking in the downtown area, people walking through the downtown community. So the economic value that council woman Diaz and others are looking for isn't just in the collateral development, the first value is in revitalizing and reimbursing the activity in the existing downtown of that's something that Elsinore didn't focus on at all. It was like a new town type concept. Very fundamentally different, and as I say, you talk to the mayor, and the folks there are there, they bristle a little bit as it being portrayed as not being successful. Because they're proud of their, team, they're proud of their ballpark, it's a great little ballpark and a very successful franchise. And now that they have cleared their environmental hurdles and their flood obligations, they were delayed in large part because they're right next to I lake there, and as a result there were some very delicate environmental issues that had to be cleared.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Which Escondido doesn't have.

PEACE: Correct.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Under the current arrangement, I believe the Murad group would be paying a couple hundred thousand dollars in rents; is that right.

PEACE: That's correct. A year.

ALISON ST. JOHN: But essentially, the city would be on its own in terms of making a profit out of -- are you envisaging a lot of people.

PEACE: No, that's not the all right.

THE COURT: How is that not right.

PEACE: The Murad agreed the city didn't want to take any kind of obligation for operating the facility. They wanted to make sure there was no chance that they had any losses on know annual basis. This is all -- that goes back to we're gonna invest $50 million, no more, no les.

ALISON ST. JOHN: That's the city.

PEACE: That's correct. So the operational responsibility of the ballpark, all the costs, all the maintenance, all issues associated with -- from keeping the field and the buildings done to keeping the parking lots taken care of, any periodic repairs, any upgrades, all of that is the responsibility of the ball club.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And then the ball club does pay the city a lease every year?

PEACE: Correct, correct.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Okay. Are there any issues that still need to be worked out before this vote tonight? Is there any wiggle room in the negotiating or as pretty much -- have all the cards been laid on the table already?

PEACE: The council represented to a memorandum of understanding, which has been negotiated between the city manager and representatives of the ball club. The city staff believes that's an agreement that works for the city. We believe it's an agreement that works for the ball club. But as an expolitician, I would never question the right of the elected officials often to be the judge of that.

ALISON ST. JOHN: There's been some details obviously at the last minute, things emerging, for example, there's a maintenance yard that would have to be moved to make way for the ballpark. And that could cost hundreds of thousands issue even millions of dollars. Is there any type of the company helping the city with that expense?

PEACE: We already provide a $5 million guarantee associated with any of those costs. The budget, there's a $10 million set aside for those kinds of issues. And the next $5 million, the team would be responsible for covering. In the event that -- and all these budgets will be adjusted under the memorandum of understanding in May. And at that time, once you know what the hard budgets are in May, the parties have the ability to -- if it should be more than that 10 million plus the five million dollar guarantee, the Murad group could decide, well, we're gonna put some more money in, or the city could say, no, we're not gonna do it, not gonna go forward. So the parties would simply pull the plug and not go forward. There are a number of -- this is anything but a final vote.


PEACE: This is a vote of are woe gonna go forward, start to engage in the environmental process and the budgeting process to determine whether in fact we go forward. And those final decisions eight be made in May.

ALISON ST. JOHN: I see. So from the fans' point of view, Escondido is on 15, and it's on the sprinter lines, so it's very accessible to fans. How many games a year would there be? What would fans be offered if this went through.

PEACE: The triple A season, regular season, is 70 games, home games. So it's about the same as the major league season minus the last month, perspective. And in addition to that, the intention is to operate the ballpark year-round. A venue for, for example, high school sports state championship games, tournaments, from football to base ball or soft ball. And then you may be familiar with the recently initiated western metals theatre concert series, which Tom Garfinkle and folks at the Padres have put together, and the maiden concert's up a couple months ago. It's anticipated that there would be a natural synergy that would develop between the Escondido venue and the western metals venue in which we can book acts on a Friday night at one venue and Saturday night at the next venue in order to have some conversations with some folks.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Okay. Steve, I just have to ask you in terms of tickets, it can cost up to 200 bucks to take a family to the Petco Park. What sort of ticket prices might people see at this kind of a ballpark?

PEACE: That's one of the things that makes this -- when people worry about cannibalizing the Petco fan base, the triple A minor league product is a different product. It's significantly lower price. A $25 ticket at Petco is probably a $7 ticket in Escondido. I'll give you some comparisons. Those prices range from 4 or $5 to up to $25. These are much lower price points.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Might be a bit more accessible.

PEACE: Right, and it's also a much more intimate fan experience. Typically there's a lot more interaction between the players and young people in particular. This will be a very aggressive community outreach environment, particularly targeted at schools where we'll have school programs in which the team provides tickets and incentives that schools can use for reward for economic performance and for, you know, better study habits of whatever it is the school wants to engage their particular program with. That will not only provide the opportunity as an awards program to bring students into the ballpark but also to have a opportunity to meet the ball players and get some kind of contact and interaction with the team.


PEACE: So these are the kinds of things you can do with a minor league ball club that's a lot different than it is with the major league team.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Sounds like it. Steve, thanks so much for filling us in.

PEACE: Thank you very much.

ALISON ST. JOHN: That's Steve Peace, senior advisor to the Murad group, which is considering purchasing a triple A team ballpark for Escondido. Stay with us. Coming up after the break, we'll be speaking with an Escondido City Council member about this and taking your calls.

And you're back on These Days. We're talking about the possibility of a new triple A baseball team having a ballpark in Escondido. The city is going to vote tonight on whether to commit $50 million to the project. We'd also like to hear what you have to say about this. So would you take your family up to Escondido to watch a minor league game? What do you think about this for the city of Escondido? Would it be a good idea? 1-888-895-5727 is the number to call in and join the program. And we have here now a member of the Escondido City Council, Olga Diaz. Olga, thank you so much for making the drive down to join us today.

DIAZ: Oh, absolutely. Thank you.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So if you were a betting woman, would you bet on the outcome of tonight's vote?

DIAZ: Well, there are actually three parts to to not's vote. The first is to commit funds for more consulting and design work, the second to commit fund toss buy a key piece of property necessary for the ballpark to fit where it's planned to go. And the third point, I guess, is just an item of discussion for the council to be able to share ideas about the ballpark. And so we're not actually voting on the $50 million project tonight. We're just voting on a few steps that take us in that direction for a future vote.

ALISON ST. JOHN: But it is -- it's a key vote.

DIAZ: Yes.

ALISON ST. JOHN: I know that this is a vote that has been postponed a few times. And you have a new member of the council right now, so that adds an element of unpredictability, right?

DIAZ: It does, actually. We were lucky. We found a councilmember last week. If you recall, councilman Abed ran for mayor and was elected, and so he left his position with two years left on his term. And so we were able to appoint Michael morasco last week, we swore him in on the spot. And of course, the poor guy's had one week to familiarize himself with all the ins and outs of this project, and certainly he'll be participating in tonight's vote. But it is a project that has many moving parts, and it's come along over the series of many months. I think most folks have been familiarized with it through press coverage, you know, where it's going to be, and what it's going to entail. Of and so finally some of the details, the written details are available now as part of the council agenda packet that include the memorandum of understanding which is not finalized, it's pretty close to, but it's not finalized. Of now that the public's had a chance to review that document, I'm sure there'll be input 678 it'll be the first time this the council has had the ability to discuss those details publicly. We have had several workshops in the community, most put on by JMI sports and Eric Judd son and Steve Peace, and they do a wonderful job of engaging the community. They've presented at the Chamber of Commerce, at the Escondido Democratic Club, once at City Council, last week at the center for the arts. Yesterday Mr. Murad presented at a rotary club meeting. So that outreach component, although a little belated, has just begun. So I think there's still a lot of room for discussion for this project.

ALISON ST. JOHN: There's a lot at stake for the city of Escondido, though. Escondido has been trying to find a way to put itself on the map, as it were, for a while. And the center for the arts has had trouble supporting itself. What makes you think that a ballpark would work for the city.

DIAZ: Well, I must say that I like the idea of a ballpark, particularly because I do enjoy the Elsinore storm stadium. And Steve was talking about that earlier. It's a very pleasant environment to go watch a base ball game in. And I have to admit I'm not the biggest baseball fan. But I love people watching. That's why I go to the games and my kids enjoy the lake Elsinore type stadium. We've also been up to the Rancho Cucamonga stadium. This type of stadium is a much smaller scale than Petco, and it's more family oriented of it's measurable difference between having a, you know, a major league game, and going to a marijuana league game. I think it does fit in theory to the Escondido community of the price points are different. I think tickets would range anywhere between maybe 6 and $25 if they're in keeping with some of the other triple A team.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So you might be able to take your family for less than a hundred bucks?

DIAZ: Very affordable. And they have -- the venues are small enough to where you don't feel like you're gonna lose your children in a crowd, which, if you've been to Petco or even, gosh, San Francisco, the ballpark there is -- it's shoulder to shoulder packed. And so when you go to a smaller triple A site, it does feel more community oriented, and more comfortable. And so in that sense, I think Escondido as a blue collar community would support a local team, would enjoy having that identity as part of our city. We have floundered for an identity, I think. There are so many wonderful things in Escondido, we have daily ranch, we have Kit Carson Park, QUeen0 Califa's Magical Garden, the Center for the Arts, the charming historic downtown of there are so many things that we have to offer, but none of those things individually has created an identity for us. So this may be the thing to do it. But of course the devil's in the details. We in theory all want a ballpark but not at any cost. And that's really what we're getting down it. The nitty-gritty of the details. How are we gonna afford it? Can we afford it? It is in our redevelopment district. So we have some redevelopment dollars available for it. Unfortunately it's gonna take pretty much every dollar we have to make this plan work. And so the better deal we negotiate for the city, the more likelihood we have of actually being able to afford implementing this project.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So Steve Peace was saying that the team is going to take on the commitment of any kind of cost over runs. So it sounds like there's no threat to the city that it might cost more than you expect. And maybe make a difference to your city general fund. 'Cause that's always a concern of people who live in a city, that they -- their general fund, their police and fire services might be affected if this doesn't work out.

DIAZ: Right. And that's actually -- Mayor Abed, having negotiated a cost cap on the project, that's a fairly recent development within the last few weeks, certainly since the election. And mayor Abed was very concerned that we have a bonding capacity that, you know, gets a little bit tight after 50 million. And so that has been approved as part of the -- or I guess the direction we have gone in is to cap costs. But of that 50 million, originally it was going to be about $10 million for the city to use toward acquiring the key piece of property and doing some street improvements and moving the North County transit district yard that's kind of in the way, aside. Of so we were gonna get 10 million of the 50, and the Murad group is gonna get the 40 million to build the ballpark. Well, I think we have some great court reporters that 10 million isn't enough for us to do what we need to do in order to prepare for the development of the ballpark. So a little bit more wiggling went on, and now the city has gotten an allowance of 15 million, and the Murad has an allowance of 35 million. And of course if they planned all along to build a $40 million stadium, that extra five million is now what the Marinad group is taking responsibility for.


DIAZ: So there's been some shifting of dollars. Of but we're still working with the $50 million cap over all, if this moves forward.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Well, let's take a call or two here, because people obviously do have opinions about this. And we'd like to welcome Patty from Temecula to the program. Thanks for calling, Patty.

NEW SPEAKER: Hi, good morning.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Good morning. What do you think about this idea?

NEW SPEAKER: I'm very excited about this ballpark because I was an exresident of San Diego but moved to Temecula. I commute every day to San Diego. And a lot of times didn't know a lot of the fun things that are happening in San Diego. Because it so far from downtown San Diego, so this is wonderful because I think aside from it being in the -- you upon, something new to offer to the North County assistant district attorney, the residents and their communities near north San Diego, it would also bring a lot of -- you know, business to Escondido, which I think would be great for that community. So I vote yes.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Okay. Patty, thanks for that vote. And let's check in with Jerry from San Diego. What's your opinion about this project, Jerry?

NEW SPEAKER: Yes, first of all, I love baseball, I love the Padres, I've been up to lake Elsinore, I had a great time. Terrific. But the question I have is about sports in general and communities. Of let's say if I was an IBM or a Google and I wanted to move into Escondido, would the city help me out with $50 million to build my factory? That's the question I have.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Okay, Jerry. Thank you so much. So Olga, I guess the -- there's a concept that I baseball park is not just a business. What is it that would benefit the city from having that here? There.

DIAZ: Right, there's some idea that because it's a sport, it's actually entertainment rather than business. And that's a very valid point. Jerry, if you work for Google and you need $50 million to come to Escondido. I think we can talk about that. You just might edge out the Padres. But yes, we do help businesses when they want to come to Escondido, assuming we have some way to do that. Last year -- actually I didn't, but the rest of the council approved a hotel project. It was gonna include a $10 million cash allowance property rent free for 12 years, and the conference center for the center for the arts. So there are some incentives that are made available to different businesses, depending on whether they're thought to bring something to Escondido that we're searching for. In the case of the ballpark, it's in a district that is very industrial, and I've been on the council for two years, and we've had several opportunities in this area. One was to create an enterprise zone or become part of the California enterprise zone list and there were many applicants, and we fell short of becoming an enterprise zone of then there was talk of a Chargers stadium, and of course that didn't work out. And now this is the third great idea for this area in two years. So I do feel that other opportunities may become available if this one distribute work. There's some sense that if we don't make this work, nothing's gonna happen for Escondido, and I don't believe that to be true. This is a great opportunity if it's negotiated well enough. But it's not the only opportunity that we can look forward to, if in fact it fails. And the Padres have made it very cheer, North County is part of their over all marketing district. So there will be no ill will if in fact they don't come to Escondido. But yes, when we have money and there's some value in a company, we do try to bend over backwards to help business feel welcome in our city.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So tell us about where this ballpark would be. Is it gonna be easy for fans to get to, is it close to the 15, is it close to the rail line? How accessible is it for people?

DIAZ: Well, very, actually, we have a key location here because it's right at the cross roads of the 78 and the 15. Soap it's central. Whether you're going up to Temecula or out to the coast, you have to come through this area of our town. Clearly all you have to do is get off the freeway. But the infrastructure is there. The key arterials of center city park way is the old 395. We do have plenty of width in our roads to handle this. So we're des playing the city of public works yard. We found another facility.

ALISON ST. JOHN: You have found a place to relocate that.

DIAZ: In part, yes, we're separating functions to make them more efficiently placed. But the public works yard, you know, was old, and we've owned it for a long time. And our city wasn't as high caliber as we'd like to have. So we did find a better place [CHECK AUDIO] which leaves this land vacant, of course, we need to prepare it for development. But we have committed to moving the public works yard at this point.

ALISON ST. JOHN: So is there room for parking? Usually these ballparks need extraordinarily large chunks of land for parking. Is that an issue.

DIAZ: Well, the plan as it it exists now includes 331 parking spots dedicated to the ballpark directly adjacent to the ballpark. And then across the Reidy creek, if you can picture Escondido creek and Reidy creek coming together as sort of a wishbone shape, [CHECK AUDIO] city land, where it's estimated we could put over 800 parking spots. Now, the problem that I see with this configuration is that the parking head it is away from the downtown area as opposed to trying to incorporate the ballpark with the -- [CHECK AUDIO] so one of my criticisms of this project if I may insert that now is that there is not a direct and easy way to walk from the ballpark to downtown. On an aerial map, it's very clear to see that we will have to make a plan for that. And I will insist that that be the case. Either with the Escondido creek or some alternate method. But parking is in fact being funneled away from the downtown as opposed to toward the downtown. We might be able to make some just wants. I also don't particularly care for the idea of having parking right up against the ballpark building. I think in order to really reinvent that area, it needs to not only be a ballpark that's beautiful on the indeed, but the area surrounding the ballpark needs to be beautiful and more green and more bark like. The idea of a base ballpark in the park would have been perfect if we had located this near our Grape Day Park, which is surrounding our city hall facility. But things being what they are, it's going to go on the Spruce Street site, and the area around it would be, I think wasted on parking rather than on beautification. I think that the over all idea of trying to create a sense of attraction in this area for ancillary development needs to include a component of beauty in and around the park, the baseball park.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Spoken like a good -- a good woman, I think that, you know, there's an esthetic element to these things which is really important. And sometimes developers kind of go for the more practical details. But let me just ask you in the couple of minutes that we have left, what are some of the big issues that you want to see resolved before you see this project tonight?

DIAZ: Well, the our indebtedness rate. So I think that the lease rate is really nominal. There is a very large cash I have with the property tax in the MOU as it exists. The city would actually have to pick up the property tax for the Murad group. There's a possessory tax on a 35 to 40 million dollar facility. That could be $700,000. I need to see that eliminated. [CHECK AUDIO] and what I see in the conversation with Steve Peace, there is some acceptance of that. So that was a huge danger for the city. I think we can avert that. We get half of the parking revenue, and the Murad operates all of the parking facilities. Of but it gives us half the revenue from the section of the parking that is on city owned land. I think that's fair. Certainly the idea of 50-50 on some things is great, but other than the parking and the lease, we don't get anything in terms of financial benefit from naming rights, from concessions, from ticket sales, from advertising space. I think that a little bit more negotiation in that area is still necessary. You know, 50-50 sounds really fair for a facility that we're investing $50 million to, you know, come up with. I think 6040 for their effort, and 9010 just so I feel like we didn't at least try. So on all of those counts, I think the city could do a little better. Negotiation has been a very sterile process, the council hasn't been directed involved in that, until the last few weeks. It happened I'm sure around a table with a lot of attorneys and representatives for both sides but now the MOU is a public document, and people can comment on it. I expect there will be more ideas, maybe a ticket surcharge to cover some of our expenses of we evaporate addressed expenses such as police services to control traffic. You know, we're very good in Escondido at calculating to the dime how much it costs to have police at, you know, fourth of July and grape day parade and cruising grand. So I imagine we'd incur some expenses that haven't been addressed. I'd like to see in writing some effort to incorporate the creek renovations around the ballpark because currently they are concrete.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Right. So it sounds like there's actually a lot of issues to be resolved, actually.

DIAZ: Yes.

ALISON ST. JOHN: And as you said, this boat isn't necessarily the vote, but it would be taking a step ahead and for people who are wondering, supposing it does go ahead, when could they go to a game? You know, what's the time line.

DIAZ: Right, originally the project was on I very intense time table because the team wanted to flay opening day, 2012. We've missed that opportunity. So it would probably be opening 2013. Between environmental review and approvalless and funding and building, it'll probable be a couple of years out still. So that would be it.

ALISON ST. JOHN: Well, Olga, thank you so much for coming in, and iffiling in on what could be an exciting new project.

DIAZ: Yeah, if we build it, I hope you will come.

ALISON ST. JOHN: It all depends on that.

DIAZ: Right, I keep hearing if we build it, they'll come, so I hope that people do. So thank you.

ALISON ST. JOHN: That's Olga Diaz, Escondido City Council member. Stay with us, on These Days we'll be speaking with the sunrise power link.

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