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San Rafael Moves Closer To Welcoming Minor League Baseball

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(AP)

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SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – The San Rafael City Council voted unanimously Monday night to proceed with an agreement to bring professional minor league baseball to Albert Park for one year starting next spring.

A community meeting was scheduled for Tuesday on the proposal, which would bring a North American League team to the park for a 45-game season that would run from May to September.

At Tuesday’s meeting, San Rafael residents will be invited to let a City Council subcommittee know what they would like to see in the final agreement, which will go before the full City Council for a vote on Oct. 3, City Clerk Esther Beirne said.

The initial proposal by Dublin-based Centerfield Partners LLC included expanded seating, renovated bathrooms, new netting and special parking arrangements to accommodate the crowds at the 60-year-old park.

Some residents and the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce welcomed the proposal, but City Council members and others balked at the plans, and the council said in August that it could not approve the proposal without an environmental review.

Centerfield Partners LLC then proposed to use Albert Park “as is,” with limited seating expansion and no change to existing perimeter fence lines to avoid a costly and time-consuming environmental review.

The revised proposal includes a one-year, non-exclusive lease that expires Sept. 30, 2012. Beirne estimated that the city will “clear” $21,000 in revenue during the season.

Centerfield Partners LLC plans to add 100 field-level seats but will not add temporary bleachers or increase capacity beyond what is currently and historically permitted, CEO Brian Clark said in a letter to city officials.

The proposal also includes a new backstop net to replace the chicken wire, a new field-level fence in front of the dugouts for player and field seating safety, and a cleanup of the grandstand, dugouts and locker rooms.

Fans will still park for free at the San Rafael Corporate Center, and the team would not use the San Rafael Community Center parking lot.

There will not be music or on-field entertainment after 9 p.m., and a local security firm will be hired to provide security in the parking lot, inside the ballpark and around the park’s perimeter.

Centerfield Partners will operate temporary concessions including beer and wine sales in existing areas within the park’s fence line.

Fans will be prohibited from bringing alcohol into the park, and no alcohol will be served after the seventh inning. No one will be served more than two alcoholic drinks at one time, under the revised proposal.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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