MountainStar explains lease extension in Tucson

EL PASO, Texas - Renewed concerns over the timeline for construction of El Paso's new ballpark.

MountainStar Sports has signed a one-year contract extension this week for a stadium in Tucson. But despite that backup plan, most expect the first pitch to be thrown in El Paso in a little more than seven months.

"Everything is focused here on April 11th, opening day," said Alan Ledford, President of MountainStar Sports. "the construction team is working very hard, but as we all know, it's a tight schedule and unforseen things -- out of our control -- can happen."

Ledford said MountainStar's decision to extend a lease with Pima County at Kino Sports Complex was simply precautionary.

"This is absolutely just a precaution and we'll continue to manage the process closely and monitor the progress," he said.

City officials said Wednesday that construction of the ballpark is still on schedule.

"It just simply means they're being proactive instead of reactive," said El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, who sees it as simply a safeguard. "They want to make sure if something between now and opening day happens they're prepared. It doesn't mean they're going to play a whole year there or even one game there."

City Rep. Emma Acosta also said construction is on schedule, but didn't like hearing about the lease extension second hand.

"I think our only concern was that MountainStar did not have the courtesy of calling the city and saying, 'You know what, we're doing this as a just in case situation,' or the reasons behind it," Acosta said. "If we're partners in this, I think the other side should know what the other side is doing."

Acosta said if the ballpark is not delivered on time, the city could have to pay substantial penalties to MountainStar. But according to the City of El Paso legal department, MountainStar would get 50-percent of any liquidated damages, which the City would collect from its contractors due to any delay in the ballpark.

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