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Hillsboro ready to 'play ball'

Officials break ground for new $15 million baseball stadium


by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE: CHASE ALLGOOD - Hillsboro and Washington County officials toss shovels of dirt Friday morning during the groundbreaking for a new baseball stadium. The Single-A Yakima Bears will play in the city beginning next summer.A slight drizzle failed to dampen the enthusiasm at the Friday groundbreaking for Hillsboro’s new minor league baseball stadium.

Hundreds of residents from through the region gathered at the Gordon Faber Recreational Complex for the ceremony, which included a line of city officials and baseball representatives turning dirt with gold-painted shovels on baseball bat handles.

“We need to have facilities and family-friendly events in the city where are citizens can stay home and go to,” said Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey of the stadium that will be home to a Single-A baseball team next season.

The team is the Yakima Bears, which is already in the process of moving to Hillsboro. Their new name will be announced within a few weeks.

“We have found our permanent home,” said Mike McMurray, president of Short Season LLC, which has owned the team for 14 years. “This is the most exciting day of our ownership.”

Cries of “play ball” rang out when the speeches concluded.

McMurray and other associated with the team praised Hillsboro officials for putting the deal together to bring the team to the city so quickly. Negotiations took around seven months to complete, compared to the nine to 18 months that are usually involved.

One clincher was the City Council’s decision to build a new baseball stadium in the recreation that already holds Hillsboro Stadium, which is used for non-professional football, baseball soccer and lacrosse games. The new stadium is expected to cost up to $15.2 million. Most of it will be financed with bonds backed by the city.

Willey noted that although it was drizzling at the groundbreaking ceremony, the first games will be held in early July of next year. The season only runs through August, when the weather is usually warm and dry, too.