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Reporter’s Notebook: When Pueblo Strikes Out

Jeff Katofsky, Owner of the Orem Owlz announces the minor league team will relocate to Pueblo, Colo on June 20, 2018. After difficulties working with the City of Pueblo, the owner pulled the deal in late July. (PULP Photo)

When I read the July 23 press release from Pueblo County, I thought of being at a baseball game where I imagined supporters of the team jeering and opponents of the team cheering.

The press release reads in part, “…we have come to the sad conclusion that we need to cease work on the YES project.”

Mighty Casey, or I should say the press release’s authors – YES backers, county Commissioners Sal Pace and Terry Hart – had struck out.

When I read the release, I was in midst of putting my finishing touches on a feature story I was writing about the YES project, which was to include a $25 million, 2,800-seat, multi-use baseball stadium that would also be home to minor league Owlz, which were to be relocated from Orem, Utah. And the project included using voter-approved 1A funding to expand the Runyon Field Sports Complex by adding six ballfields at a cost of $8 million.

By the way, the July 23 press release does say the county would still use voter-approved 1A funding for the Runyon complex expansion, along with expanding the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo at a cost of $3 million and Main Street improvements to cost $6 million – all were part of the YES project according to Commissioner Pace. The Runyon ballfields were critical to the plans of the Owlz owner and hotel developer, Jeff Katofsky, who had told me the Runyon complex expansion was a major reason for him relocating his team to Pueblo.

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A tiff over TIF

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