City exploring options for Mike Lansing with Casper Legion's lease expiring - Casper, WY Oil City News
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City exploring options for Mike Lansing with Casper Legion’s lease expiring

Casper Horseheads mascot “Derrick” gives high-fives to fans as they enter Mike Lansing Field in Casper in 2018. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The City of Casper are exploring possible new ways to utilize Mike Lansing with Casper Legion Baseball’s 20-year exclusive use lease set to expire on Dec. 31.

Casper Legion Baseball’s 20 year lease allowed them to sub-lease the area with approval from the city. Casper Parks and Recreation Director Tim Cortez told the city council on Tuesday, Sept. 15 that staff would like to seek proposals for management of the lease agreement.

Cortez described three ways in which Mike Lansing could be operated moving forward, though he added that the city could potentially receive proposals that staff have not thought of yet. Those three options are:

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  • an exclusive use agreement
    • similar to existing agreement with Casper legion baseball
    • Cortez recommends limiting such a contract to no more than 5 years
  • city rental format
    • Casper Parks and Recreation would manage the facility and rent it out to multiple user groups
  • third party management
    • a third part would manage the facility similar to how Spectra Venue Management manages the Casper Events Center

Cortez said that each approach would come with both pros and cons for the city. The advantage of an exclusive use agreement is that the city “gets to hand it off.”

“They run [the facility] as they see fit,” Cortez added, noting that the city wouldn’t be responsible for time and costs associated with daily management of Mike Lansing. However, the city would still be responsible for renovations and repairs when the price tag exceeds $500.

The downside of exclusive use lease agreements is that the city loses a say in who has access to the facility. Councilman Charlie Powell said that he is “still holding out hope” that a minor league baseball team could return to play at Mike Lansing in Casper.

Powell said that some people have argued that the reason Casper lost minor league teams was over issues about restricted access to Mike Lansing provided by Casper Legion Baseball.

He asked Cortez whether it might be possible to write an exclusive use lease agreement in such a way that requires the party leasing the facility from the city to share access to the facility with other user groups.

Cortez said he thought this may be a possibility and that the city attorney’s office have drafted language into other city contracts in such a manner.

Councilman Steve Cathey asked if Spectra would be interested in managing Mike Lansing in addition to the Events Center. He said that Mike Lansing could accommodate outdoor events such as Fourth of July celebrations or concerts.

“Spectra has asked us specifically about Lansing,” Cortez said. He said that Spectra thinks managing both the Events Center and an outdoor facility could help them better utilize part-time staff during the summer.

“They really see some synergies occurring,” he added.

Cathey said that allowing Spectra to manage the field could potentially lower Events Center operating costs.

Cortez noted that contracting a third party to manage the facility would come with costs to the city since a third party would “charge us a management fee in some way, shape or form.”

Cathey asked whether the city has the staff necessary to operate Mike Lansing in-house. Cortez said that some additional staff would likely be needed specifically for field maintenance. He said the city could either add part-time staff for such a task or hire full-time staff that would work on tasks at both Mike Lansing and other projects throughout the city.

He said that the city has the expertise needed to schedule Mike Lansing in such a way to accommodate multiple user groups. However, such staff are also busy with management of other facilities.

Cortez said that if the city takes over direct management of Mike Lansing, Parks and Recreation would probably attempt to conduct scheduling with existing staff, but that he couldn’t guarantee that the department may wind up requesting additional support if the task proves too daunting.

Councilman Ken Bates asked Cortez which option he prefers.

“I think that tale is yet to be told,” Cortez replied. He said he’d like to see the city first send out a request for proposals so they would have a better idea of what the options would look like in detail.

Cortez said Parks and Recreation’s goal was to find a way to reduce the amount of funding the city needs to subsidize for Mike Lansing.

The council indicated that they’d like city staff to move forward with issuing a request for proposals to lease, manage or otherwise operate Mike Lansing.

If you would like to contact members of the Casper City Council regarding this or any other issue, here is their contact information:

Mayor Steve Freel (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):

Vice Mayor Khrystyn Lutz (Ward I, Term expires 1/3/23):

Councilman Charlie Powell (Ward II, Term Expires 1/5/21):

Councilman Shawn Johnson (Ward II, Term expires 1/3/23):

Councilman Ken Bates (Ward II, Term expires 1/5/21):

Councilman Steve Cathey (Ward III, Term Expires 1/5/21):

Councilman Bob Hopkins (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):

Councilman Mike Huber (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):

Councilman Ray Pacheco (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):

Council members can also be reached by mail at: 200 N. David Street, 82601

If you would like to contact members in your specific ward, but don’t know which ward you are in, a map is available at the City of Casper’s website.