City gives Friends of Victoria Baseball 30 days' notice
By BY MIKE FORMAN - MFORMAN@VICAD.COM
Sept. 17, 2011 at 4:17 a.m.
Updated Sept. 18, 2011 at 4:18 a.m.
The Friends of Victoria Baseball's involvement with Riverside Stadium could be coming to an end.
The City of Victoria has informed the group that it intends to take bids for the sale of concessions at the stadium.
Doug Cochran, parks and recreation director for the city, also said the city is taking over maintenance at Riverside Stadium and Lowe and Rippamonti fields.
Friends of Victoria Baseball, which was incorporated in 2001, is made up of volunteers who have worked to restore the historic stadium and its upkeep since it was heavily damaged in the 1998 flood.
Riverside Stadium is used by the Victoria Generals of the Texas Collegiate League, the University of Houston-Victoria, and local high school baseball teams.
Friends of Victoria Baseball has used revenues raised from concession sales for the stadium's improvement and maintenance.
Cochran met with representatives of Friends of Victoria Baseball on Thursday and gave them 30 days notice of the city's intention to accept bids for concessions at the stadium.
"We want them to bid on it," Cochran said.
Jack Daniels, a long-time member of Friends of Victoria Baseball, said that isn't likely.
"We're out of there," said Daniels, who said the group has been given a deadline of Oct. 15 to remove its equipment. "We've come a long ways with a little bit of money."
The city's decision to bid concession sales is also a concern for the Generals and high school booster clubs.
"It will definitely have an impact on us," said Blake Koch, the general manager of the Generals. "I don't know if it will be positive or negative. It will depend on how they handle it."
"It could have a major effect on the booster clubs' ability to raise money," added Ralph Escalona, athletic director for the Victoria school district.
Koch said he plans to meet with Cochran next week to discuss the move and the Generals' future at the stadium.
Cochran said the city is expecting to have new equipment maintenance on hand by the middle of October and will have two employees working on Riverside Stadium and Lowe and Rippamonti fields.
Cochran acknowledged the city's upkeep of the field has been a source of concern in the past, but insisted it will have the resources to do the job properly.
"We have the equipment and additional personnel," he said. "It is not going to do that."
Cochran said the city's move to take over maintenance at the fields began two years ago and he discussed it with members of Friends of Victoria Baseball.
"The friends did a great job of restoring and bringing Riverside Stadium back up," Cochran said. "It's not that we're kicking them out. It's a changing of the guard."