- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Despite their lingering debt, owners of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A baseball team in Reno say they intend to make $1.2 million in improvements at the downtown Aces Ballpark.

An ice skating rink now operates in the park during the winter and a professional soccer team is slated to begin play next year, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported (https://on.rgj.com/1NBzke6).

Retail billionaire Herb Simon is one of the developers, along with his partners Jerry and Stuart Katzoff.

“We share your vision of a year round facility and continue to put every effort to achieve this goal,” Simon wrote in a letter to the Reno city council.

HD video, surround sound and other privately-funded improvements will likely be installed this year. Aces President Eric Edelstein says the organization has worked to create community partnerships and is installing local artists’ work in the park.

“It was something that I felt like was an important upgrade to the ballpark and I’m happy to say Mr. Simon wasn’t hard to convince,” Edelstein said. “He knows we need to keep this ballpark in a first class position.”

A $4 million line of credit helps cover the difference between annual revenues and the park’s operating costs.

Developers are looking for finance options for $63 million in park construction debt. Only interest payments have been made so far.

The park pursued United Soccer League team to expand uses for the park, which was built with a substantial public subsidy. Edelstein is also the USL President, and says no public money is being used for the soccer franchising.

The USL is the third tier of pro soccer in America, behind Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League.

Edelstein said two other stadiums - in Louisville, Kentucky, and Tulsa, Oklahoma - are shared by baseball and soccer teams.

“The sport is growing tremendously and I think that we’re still at the front edge of the popularity in this country,” Edelstein said. “We’re really fortunate to have an owner that’s giving us this opportunity to invest in something so exciting.”

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, https://www.rgj.com

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