EVERETT, Wash. — Everett Memorial Stadium has stood for 76 years.
The AquaSox - the city's Minor League Baseball team - have inhabited the stadium for more than half that time, 39 years. Now, Major League Baseball is ordering upgrades to its Minor League stadiums.
The City of Everett is going to have to find that money if it wants to keep its team.
Everett City Councilmember Don Schwab has been bringing his kids to watch the AquaSox for two decades. He sees the benefits in having a baseball team in town.
"I think there's a lot of value in being able to take your family, friends, community groups to the ballpark and have a great evening," he said.
But the future of the stadium is very much in question. Major League Baseball is requiring minor league teams to upgrade their facilities or risk losing the team.
City officials are now studying the feasibility of re-building a facility on the site of the AquaSox’s current home, Funko Field, or constructing a new venue on a different site, potentially including a park and amphitheater.
"We want to build our community center around the kind of entertainment that is family friendly, accessible, and inexpensive," said Everett Economic Development Director Dan Eernissee.
Officials are looking at several site options including a parcel of land east of Broadway, across from Angel of the Winds Arena.
Another option is to tear down the city's aging Public Works facility on Cedar Street and temporarily relocate those workers.
The stadium would cost $60 to 80 million to build, based on research by city staff examining other minor league ball parks across the country.
The current facility is owned by the Everett School District and leased to the AquaSox. It's used by high schools and Everett Community College, as well.
The AquaSox bring about $10 million a year into the Everett economy.
Eernissee said a new stadium could quadruple that.
"We love baseball but what we're trying to do as a city is build for our growth and our long term quality of life," he said.
The state has committed to $7.4 million in funding. Where the rest will come from remains unclear.
Councilmember Schwab hopes the most family-friendly aspect of all will be no new taxes for the people of Everett.
"We're gonna do our best to keep the burden off local taxpayers," he said.
City officials hope to have a location and funding plan in place by opening day 2024.