Nonprofit backs bid to lure baseball

Identity Clark County supports stadium construction

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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A proposal to bring the Class A Yakima Bears to Vancouver got a vote of support Thursday from the Identity Clark County Board of Directors.

The board members voted to support the idea of building a multi-use stadium at Clark College, according to Paul Montague, executive director of ICC.

He said the members urge the county commissioners, who are expected to sign a non-binding Letter of Intent with Short Season LLC next week, to “carefully consider the impact of the project on nonprofit organizations.”

Commissioners would have to enact a 5 percent entertainment admissions tax, which could be applied to movie tickets, the Clark County Fair, the Washougal Motocross and other events.

The Vancouver Symphony, for one, has requested to be excluded from the tax.

Officials have said they will consider excluding all nonprofit organizations from the tax.

Commissioners will have to have a public hearing before voting on the tax, which would generate an estimated $900,000 a year.

Revenues would be committed to paying off debt on the stadium, which would be privately financed.

Unique opportunity

Montague said the board of directors “feels that Southwest Washington has a unique opportunity to become the home of professional baseball in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area and that the project brings immediate construction and development activity. Its enduring benefits are adding a valuable community asset that makes our area more desirable for businesses seeking to grow or relocate here, and creating affordable family entertainment for people throughout the metropolitan area.”

A public forum on the baseball proposal, sponsored by several neighborhood organizations, will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.