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Owner of Triple-A baseball team: 'We're staying in Wichita'

Published: Mar. 18, 2019 at 7:28 PM CDT
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The majority owner of the Triple-A baseball team headed to Wichita says his team is committed to coming in 2020.

"We are here for the long haul. And you heard it here first on Channel 12," said Lou Schwechheimer.

He sat down with Eyewitness News Monday afternoon ahead of a controversial vote by the Wichita City Council regarding private development for the new baseball stadium which will house the team.

Schwechheimer said a stall in the vote to give four acres of land to that developer will not affect his team's decision to move to Wichita.

The city moved its council meeting from Tuesday morning to Tuesday evening to allow for citizens to come out and voice their concerns regarding a deal. Schwechheimer says he plans to be there.

"I look forward to meeting folks with questions," he said. "I look forward to us having a chance to tell a little bit more about our story of how we came here and about our 40+ years previous to coming to Wichita so that people have their questions answered they have a right to know."

Many people are upset the city isn't talking more about the agreement. Schwechheimer says they shouldn't worry.

"The confidentiality was not so much for Wichita but to protect, in some cases, the city we are leaving," he said.

Jennifer Rays owns the Monarch, a restaurant in the parking lot of what used to be Lawrence Dumont Stadium. She says she understands business dealings.

"I understand as a business owner that they are parts to business that that can’t always be shared," said Ray. "Businesses in the 500 and 600 blocks has been addressed and they are planning on making sure that we are still taken care of."

Schwechheimer says if his team wasn't interested in Wichita, construction on the new stadium wouldn't be happening.

"This agreement runs for 30 years when this agreement ends I’ll be 91 and I hope good Lord willing I’ll be alive to sign the next agreement for the next 30," he said. "We love Wichita. We’re here because we love Wichita. We’re staying in Wichita."

Again, Tuesday's city council meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 455 N. Main, in City Council Chambers.