PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Lefties will be hitting home runs, turning double plays and entertaining fans at Civic Field for the foreseeable future.
The City Council is expected to approve today a five-year facility use agreement with MACK Athletics Inc., the Lefties’ parent company, that will enable the summer collegiate baseball team to use the city-owned stadium through 2024.
An existing three-year facility use agreement between the city and the third-year West Coast League squad is set to expire after the 2019 season.
The new agreement appears on the council’s consent agenda for routine business in today’s meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
“It is important for both entities to reach a new agreement prior to the 2019 season to show the community that the Lefties will be a fixture in Port Angeles for years to come,” city Parks and Recreation Director Corey Delikat said in a memo to the council.
The Lefties open the 2019 season at Civic Field with an exhibition game against the Bellevue-based Northwest Honkers on May 30. There are 35 home games on the schedule.
The Lefties will pay the city $291.75 per game — or $10,211.25 for the season — for field preparations in 2019.
Under the the terms of the new agreement, MACK Athletics will pay the city $300.50 per home game in 2020. The rate will increase by 3 percent every year.
Revenue from the agreement will be placed into a special city fund for improvements to Civic Field, Delikat said in a Monday interview.
Future improvements include a wheelchair ramp from the north parking lot to the field level and handrails for the stairs in the main grandstand, Delikat said.
Matt Acker of MACK Athletics, the Lefties’ majority owner, said he suggested the 3 percent annual cost increase to support investments to Civic Field.
“We’re going to continue to have big projects, and compensating the city is important,” Acker said Monday.
In advance of the 2019 season, the Lefties built a new walkway around the back of the baseball bleachers, upgraded concession stand equipment and improved the stadium sound system.
Acker said he hopes to replace the wooden stairs that lead from the north parking lot to the third-base line with concrete stairs before the 2019 season begins.
The city will make other improvements to the area behind the grandstand when it rebuilds Race Street in the coming years.
Civic Field also is used for the Port Angeles High School football, baseball and soccer teams; Wilder baseball; youth baseball and high school graduations.
“It’s an integral part of the community, and we have a responsibility to handle it with respect and care,” said Acker, a Port Angeles resident.
The city received $250,000 in lodging taxes for capital improvements to Civic Field in 2017 and 2018 that came as a result of the Lefties establishing a team in the city, Delikat has said.
The city spent $117,500 in lodging tax funds to upgrade the facility before the first game in June 2017, including the replacement of a leaky roof and purchase of a home run fence.
The Lefties posted a 19-34 record in their inaugural season and improved to 21-33 last year.
The team drew an average of 1,380 to its home games last season, ranking fourth in attendance out of 11 teams in the wood-bat West Coast League, according to the league website.
“Over the last two seasons, it has been amazing to watch the increased use of Civic Field, to see families and friends having dinner at the ballpark and the smiling faces of kids as Timber the team mascot waves to them from the field,” Delikat said in his memo.
“At the end of the day — whether the Lefties win or lose — the game is irrelevant, as the event itself is about friends, family and the community spending time together under the lights of Civic Field.”
For information on the Lefties, visit www.paleftiesbaseball.com.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].