Tenants to share wealth from stadium concessions


Sept. 28, 2011 at 4:28 a.m.
Updated Sept. 29, 2011 at 4:29 a.m.

The City of Victoria has backed away from its plan to take bids for concession sales at Riverside Stadium.

The city has decided to allow each organization using the stadium to be responsible for its own concession sales.

Concession sales at the stadium have been handled by Friends of Victoria Baseball, a volunteer group, which used the proceeds to take care of the stadium.

Doug Cochran, parks and recreation director for the city, gave representatives of Friends of Victoria Baseball 30-days notice on Sept. 15 of the city's intention to seek bids for concession sales.

Cochran also informed Friends of Victoria Baseball that the city plans to take over maintenance at Riverside Stadium and Lowe and Rippamonti fields.

The move led Friends of Victoria Baseball to end its involvement with the stadium and drew concern from other groups using the stadium, who were dependent of concession sales for revenue.

Cochran said the change of course came after he discussed the issue with city manager Charmelle Garrett.

Cochran said he worked out the new proposal with assistant city manager Bruce Ure.

"After talking with the city manager, we decided the original program wasn't going to work," Cochran said. "Riverside Stadium is not like the Victoria Youth Sports Complex. It's a little different animal. I think it will be an equitable agreement."

The new arrangement seems to have satisfied the concerns of the organizations using Riverside Stadium.

"We're very happy with it," said Blake Koch, general manager of the Victoria Generals, who have one year remaining on their lease at the stadium. "I think everybody appreciates what they did. I think it all ended up real well."

"From what I understand there are some details to be worked out," said Ralph Escalona, athletic director for the Victoria school district. "It sounds like they are doing everything they can to make it work out."

Ashley Walyuchow, athletic director for the University of Houston-Victoria, said the school has never handled its own concession sales, but some student groups have already expressed an interest.

"We've got a lot to figure out, but we'll make out," Walyuchow said. "It will provide a revenue stream we didn't have before."

Friends of Victoria Baseball has worked hard to restore Riverside Stadium since it was heavily damaged in the flood of 1998 and made numerous improvements to stadium facilities.

The stadium's upkeep will be in the hands of the city, which plans to have two employees working on Riverside Stadium and Lowe and Rippamonti Fields.

"They assured us they can do it," Walyuchow said. "We'll see how it all plays out."

"I'm not too concerned," Koch added. "I think Daniel (Roznovsky) did a good job. Now, they'll have two guys maintaining all those fields instead of one so they should be able to do it."

Koch appreciates the work the Friends of Victoria Baseball have done during the three years the Generals have played at Riverisde Stadium.

He suggested the group's involvement with the stadium may not have come to an end.

"Since we're handling our own concession sales," Koch said, "we're going to need someone to help run it."



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