With the sale of the Aeros in progress, Akron is considering investing in the stadium to keep the baseball team longer than the five years remaining in the stadium’s lease, Mayor Don Plusquellic said Monday.
“It’s a concern of the new owner that the stadium needs improvements,” Plusquellic said during a council meeting.
Plusquellic said the city wants to keep the team in Canal Park stadium for “an extended period of time.”
The mayor said the team is going through the process of being sold, with the minor league already approving the sale. He said the major league is expected to decide on the sale this week.
Council President Marco Sommerville said council may need a special meeting to vote on the lease with the new owner and the stadium improvements.
Sommerville said Canal Park is 15 years old and is in need of some updates. He called this a “great opportunity.”
“A couple of us have looked at other parks and gotten some ideas of what might be possible here,” he said. “We are looking forward to whenever this transaction takes place.”
Plusquellic and Sommerville never named the prospective new owner of the Aeros, but Ken Babby’s name has surfaced as the reported buyer. The team is currently owned by Mike and Greg Agganis, a father and son.
Babby, 32, of Potomac, Md., is the founder and CEO of Fast Forward Sports Group LLC based in the Cleveland/Akron area, according to his LinkedIn page.
The sale of the Aeros, the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, is in the midst of a three-tiered process that progresses from the Eastern League to the minor-league level and finishes with Major League Baseball.
Sommerville said after the council meeting that he doesn’t know how much might need to be invested in the stadium or what these improvements may involve.
The stadium was built in 14 months, between January 1996 and March 1997, at a cost of $31 million. Its seating capacity is 9,097 that is expandable to 12,500.
The Aeros finished this season with an 82-59 regular season record and were crowned the Eastern League champs.