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San Rafael Approves Plan To Welcome Minor League Baseball Team

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(AP)

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

It means a North American League team will take the field at Albert Park for a 45-game season from May through September.

Centerfield Partners LLC, which made the pitch for baseball in San Rafael, can apply for an extension to the agreement.

The San Rafael City Council will appoint a seven-member advisory committee that will present a mid-season review of how the agreement with the city is working and an evaluation at the end of the year, said Carlene McCart, director of San Rafael Community Services.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

The committee will include three members from the adjacent neighborhood, a downtown area business owner, two members of Centerfield Partners LLC and someone from the Parks and Recreation Commission, McCart said.

The issue of baseball, including night games in San Rafael, has been vetted at public meetings since April.

“We came to a very solid middle ground. We did the best we could,” McCart said Tuesday morning. “The majority of the community feels this will be a very beneficial use.”

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

San Rafael City Council members and opponents of the proposal balked at the plans. The council in August said it could not approve the proposal without 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 costly and time-consuming environmental review.

The revised proposal includes a one-year, non-exclusive lease that expires Sept. 30, 2012. San Rafael City Clerk Esther Beirne estimated 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 clean-up of the grandstand, dugouts and locker rooms.

Fans will still park for free in a lot across the street from Albert Park, and the team would not use the 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 for the parking lot, inside the ballpark and around the park’s perimeter.

Centerfield Partners LLC will operate temporary concessions that include 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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