Simi Valley, Gulls Discuss Stadium Site

Times Staff Writer

Simi Valley officials discussed leasing land to the Ventura County Gulls this week and allowing the minor league baseball team to build a stadium in the city.

Bob Hunt, Simi Valley's assistant city manager, mailed Gull General Manager Jim Biby information on undeveloped city and park-owned land parcels that might be suitable for a stadium. Rick Fields, a Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District director, also spoke with Biby about moving the Gulls to Simi Valley.

"My gut feeling is that the park directors think this is a good idea," Fields said. "The first step is for the Gulls to make a formal request or proposal to the park board. They could build a stadium on land leased from either the parks or city for, say, $1 a year for 50 or 99 years." Hunt also expressed interest in making Simi Valley a permanent home for the Gulls.

"Simi Valley has a history of attracting industrial and commercial development," Hunt said. "A baseball team is unlike any business we've courted, but there would be a lot of community benefits."

Biby said he will contact the city and the park district after reviewing the material Hunt sent.

"I sensed enthusiasm on their part," Biby said.

The Gulls have received no assurances from Ventura College, where they presently play, that they will be able to return next season. The team, a first-year Toronto Blue Jay affiliate playing in the Class-A California League, hoped to move to Freedom Park in Camarillo but was denied money for a field from the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District in April.

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