BELOIT — The Riverbend Stadium Authority (RSA) remains committed to building and maintaining the downtown stadium and keeping the Snappers baseball team in Beloit.
The RSA, which was established last year after stadium plans were announce in September, recently received nonprofit status. The stadium authority will own the stadium, negotiating contractual obligations and raising capital, a news release from the RSA said.
Led by a six-member Board of Directors, RSA exists as a public body and community partner, separate from the City of Beloit or any other entity, with the RSA leasing land along Shirland Avenue near the Rock River from the city.
Beloit businesswoman Diane Hendricks, who has supplied the majority of the private funding needed for the project, said the stadium plan would “help us to continue to feel good about the Beloit area” amid COVID-19 disruption and economic impact.
“The stadium should be owned on behalf of the community,” Hendricks said. “We have such a great community and we have made so much progress. Having this facility downtown is really paving the way for downtown Beloit to establish itself as a thriving entertainment district and a destination for family-friendly events…We are all in this together.”
Stakeholders are positioning the project to not only be the home of the Snappers, but also a community event and entertainment hub featuring other events including concerts, youth sporting outings and community gatherings.
Members of the stadium authority board are Jim Packard, Brent Fox, Keith Rozolis, Tim McKevett, Dennis Conerton and Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther, who will not vote as a board member due to her ties with city government.
Hendricks Commercial Properties (HCP) is the lead developer on the stadium project, with the construction project expected to break ground in early June.
“I know there are a lot of hurdles to get over, including permitting, final design, costing, fund raising, MLB decisions and use agreements,” said HCP Vice President John Gackstetter. “Thanks to the dedication of the RSA, I am confident we will have all agreements complete and executed by May 2020, and we hope to be playing baseball at the new stadium by early season 2021.”
The project now includes a 3,800-seat stadium with state-of-the-art team and fan amenities including an artificial turf field, a grandstand, and a 300-plus capacity indoor Stadium Club event space that can be used year-round.
The renewed commitment from the RSA comes as the Snappers prospective owner Quint Studer temporarily withdrew the ownership transfer agreement for control of the team until after the Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) reach a deal on a new Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA).
A management agreement is already in place with the Beloit Professional Baseball Association and Studer Group staff for team operations and is not impacted by the withdrawal.