Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell guaranteed Tuesday that the city will bid to lure the National College Baseball Hall of Fame to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
The Hall of Fame was formed in 2009 and had been planning Lubbock, Texas, as the site for a permanent museum.
But negotiations hit a snag there over building a ballfield adjacent to the museum, and the College Baseball Foundation, the group planning the hall, has announced plans for a national search for a site.
“We know that they’re going to put out some kind of solicitation for some kind of proposal, qualifications, don’t know exactly yet,” Longwell said. “But I will guarantee you we will respond to that request because we think it’s a great fit with what we’re building.”
The city is creating special tax districts to finance a multi-million-dollar project to either build a new stadium or upgrade the existing Lawrence-Dumont to current standards for Major League-affiliated minor-league baseball.
The Wingnuts, the current stadium tenants, are part of an independent minor league not connected to MLB’s farm-team system.
The stadium plan also includes a permanent home for a museum dedicated to the history of the National Baseball Congress, an amateur baseball tournament that attracts top college players and professional prospects to play in Wichita each year.
“We’re definitely building a home for the National Baseball Congress, so 82-year history and they finally get a real home,” Longwell said. “Now how can we add to that? This opportunity just simply looks like it’s going to present itself and make that even better.”