Wichita City Council delays decision on developer for new baseball stadium

WICHITA, Kan. A new baseball stadium and a new Triple-A team affiliated with Major League Baseball are coming to Wichita. And the plan remains for the city's new team to take its new field in the spring of 2020.

(City of Wichita)

To meet the deadline, the city has to work quickly. But Tuesday, the Wichita City Council delayed a key decision on that process.

The council decided to hold off one week on making a decision to choose a developer for the $75-million project. The delay comes after some question the experience of the firm picked to build the new ballpark.

Tuesday, the team behind developers J E Dunn said they have plenty of experience both designing and building stadiums. But Wichita Vice Mayor Bryan Frye said city leaders were just given the agreement Tuesday morning and he wants to look it over to make sure the group has the experience it says it does.

"(We) just want to make sure that we do have the best qualified team for this," Frye says. "When we're talking about a $75-million project that is on our front porch, the public has a right to know about this stuff and they should know."

Three other council members agreed with him and put the decision on hold until next week. Demolition of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium began last month. The plan is to have the team currently known as the New Orleans Baby Cakes taking the field in Wichita in Spring 2020. The team's name will change with its move.

Tuesday, Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell spoke in support of moving forward with J E Dunn.

"(I) believe that we did select one of the absolute best teams that could not only be innovative, but build (the stadium) on time and under budget," Longwell said.

the proposed project includes a Hall-of-Fame Museum to accompany the stadium that will seat at least 10,000 people. Plans also call for a new development featuring retail and restaurants to neighbor the new stadium.