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$1 Parking Rate Rise Not Getting to First Base With Angels

Times Staff Writer

Anaheim city officials want to boost the cost of parking for baseball fans at Anaheim Stadium by $1 to pay for lot repairs, but the Angels are balking.

Angels management, which already has increased most ticket prices for the new season, say that increasing the parking rate from $3 to $4 may push the cost of a ballgame too high.

“Obviously, we want to keep baseball a good bargain for the family, and this year we did raise ticket prices,” said Kevin Uhlich, director of stadium operations for the Angels. “It’s something no team likes to do.”

The parking rate increase, if approved, would take effect as soon as March 31, when the Angels play the Dodgers in a preseason game, city officials said. The Angels’ regular season opens April 4 with a game against the Chicago White Sox.

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Uhlich said the Angels would respond to Anaheim’s proposal as soon as today. The city owns Anaheim Stadium, but a parking rate increase would have to be approved by the Angels and then by the City Council.

City officials, who first proposed the increase to the Angels last fall, say the extra money is needed to cover higher operating costs and to pay for long-overdue repairs to the stadium parking lot.

“We have not raised parking fees for three baseball seasons,” said Greg Smith, the city’s stadium manager. “Increased revenue from parking would help finance repairs to the lot that we are in dire need of making.”

Smith estimated that the $1 increase would raise up to $700,000 a year. That would go a long way toward paying the estimated $3.1 million worth of repairs to the parking lot, he said.

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The main problem is that rainwater seeps beneath the parking lot, washing away its sand foundation, he said. That can cause the asphalt to buckle and holes to appear.

“Some areas of the parking lot have gone more than 15 years since repairs,” Smith said. “If we don’t do something in the very near future, then costs later on will be dramatically higher.”

Angels officials agree that the lot needs “some desperate repair,” Uhlich said. But the team has no other proposal to pay for the work, he said.

Angels fans, already forced to pay $1 more for most game tickets, may not be too thrilled at parting with another extra buck for parking.

“I don’t think there’s too many people it doesn’t bother when they raise the prices,” said Lorraine Campanozzi of Fountain Valley, a member of the Angels booster club.

Campanozzi said she could not speak for the club, “but personally, I don’t like to see prices go up. Still, I’ll continue going to the baseball games.”

The proposed parking hike would push Anaheim Stadium rates above those for other Southland baseball teams. Both Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego charge $3.

But Anaheim Stadium manager Smith said the Angels already enjoy a lower parking rate than anyone else who uses the stadium. Parking for Rams games, rock concerts, motorcycle races and other events is $5.

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About 700,000 cars and trucks parked last season at Angels games, he said.

Smith said he wants a final decision on the increase before the Angels’ regular season opens next month so he can start repairs.

Smith said repairs would take a couple of years and proceed in phases. But he wants to get started soon.

“Once the weather is guaranteed to be fair, then we’ll go ahead,” Smith said.

A DAY AT THE BALLGAME

Based on a typical family consisting of a husband, wife, and 2 children.

4 Field 4 Hot 3 Large Level Tickets Parking 1 Program Dogs Sodas 1 Beer Angels $36 $3 $1.50 $6 $5.25 $2.50 Dodgers 32 3 1.00 7 4.50 2.25

1 Team Pennant Total Angels $3 $57.25 Dodgers 2 51.75

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Source: the ballclubs


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