WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita was briefly under consideration as a place for the San Antonio Missions to relocate. However, the Double-A Affiliate to the San Diego Padres is now opting to stay a little closer to home.
Instead of making the move to Wichita, the Missions are heading to Amarillo, Texas.
Timing and location seems to be the two factors that led to Wichita, the biggest city without a Minor League Affiliated team, to be passed over for the opportunity.
Kyle Smith, owner of Little Busters Sports Bar, is a big baseball fan. He said he supports the Wichita Wingnuts, but the chance to get a team affiliated with a big league club would have been an upgrade.
“To know we had this opportunity and did pass us up, it is a little bit discouraging,” said Smith.
Bob Hanson, President and CEO of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission said Amarillo simply had a leg up on Wichita.
“They actually did their planning and started to talk about this in 2008 and then they’ve been working on it since 2015, they’re ahead of us,” explained Hanson. “I think location is important also, because Amarillo is a lot closer to San Antonio than Wichita.”
While the door has shut on this opportunity, city officials are positive there will be others. In May, the Wichita City Council unanimously approved forming a STAR bond district which would help with the $40 million cost to renovate Lawrence Dumont or possibly build a new stadium.
“Baseball teams want a venue that is inviting, a new place to call home” said Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell. “We’re going to provide that.”
“With the rebuild of the stadium and everything like that, I think next time this opportunity does come up, we might be looked at stronger,” added Smith.
Mayor Longwell says they are seeking requests for proposals for architects to handle the renovation or rebuild of the 83-year-old Lawrence Dumont Stadium. The hope is to begin construction in 2018 and have it completed by 2020.