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Palmdale Makes Minor Deal : Baseball: City reaches agreement with proposed Golden State League for $5-million stadium.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Officials from the City of Palmdale will sign a letter of intent today with the Chatsworth-based Golden State League, bringing the region a step closer to landing a professional minor-league baseball franchise.

Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford said Thursday that the city has reached an agreement in principle with league president Bob Weinstein. Under terms of the deal, the league will finance a $5-million stadium in exchange for 25 acres of land.

The proposed league, on the drawing board for two years, will have 90 days to tie up a handful of loose ends--which include proving it has $50 million in its coffers.

Said Weinstein: “It’s been a long time coming.”

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According to the agreement, the league will pay for stadium construction in exchange for land and other concessions. Namely, the city will provide site infrastructure such as utility hookups, and must expedite the permit process and waive developmental fees.

Palmdale this month acquired a 117-acre parcel of land, 25 acres of which has been tentatively designated for the new stadium, which will be owned by the league.

The Golden State, an independent league with no major-league affiliation, hopes to finance six new stadiums across Southern California by next summer, when the inaugural season is set to begin.

Weinstein’s proposal already has cleared the Palmdale city attorney and redevelopment offices. Ledford said he is “definitely intrigued” by the plan. Many Southland cities have been forced to build pricey stadiums to attract minor-league teams.

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For Palmdale, it’s a low-risk venture at this point.

“Look at the state of minor-league baseball and this is worth looking at,” Ledford said. “It’s a whole different situation.

“It’s pull-your-own-weight baseball. It all falls on (Weinstein).”

Weinstein, a 51-year-old investment banker from Chatsworth, must prove that the league’s financial house is in order and that he can deliver the other franchises.

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“If it falls apart, it’s no harm, no foul for Palmdale,” Weinstein said. “I’m the only one with egg on my face.”


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