Davenport leaders have negotiated a new long-term lease for the city’s historic John O’Donnell Stadium with Florida-based Mainstreet Baseball. That’s the company buying the team, known as The Swing of the Quad Cities, from current owner Seventh Inning Stretch. City Alderman Shawn Hamerlinck says it’s a good financial deal for Davenport in the long run.
Hamerlinck says “We’re actually going to receive a 40-thousand dollar reduction in the annual revenue, that’s something the Stretch is currently paying, but what’s key here is the organization that’s taking it over has shown that they’ve ran a quality organization in other cities and they’ll have the ability to pay all the six-and-a-half million dollars the city is owing for the money we put into renovating John O’Donnell Stadium.”
The 18-year lease will be discussed at a public hearing November 13th. City administrator Craig Malin says he’s thrilled the stadium, beside the Mississippi River, will be able to host baseball for at least 18 more years.
Malin says “Many people have described it as the best ball park in America. It has all the charm of great old classic stadiums like Fenway, Wrigley and Yankee but it’s in this wonderful setting with the sun setting and the lights twinkling on the bridge and it has this wonderful intimacy that you don’t find at even Wrigley, Fenway or Yankee.”
Malin says the 18-year lease will cement the old stadium a place in Davenport’s riverfront for a full century. Built in 1931, the stadium and was first known as Municipal Stadium and is thought to be the oldest ballpark still in use in all of the minor leagues. On its 40th anniversary, in 1971, the ballpark was renamed to honor the longtime sports editor of the Davenport Times-Democrat newspaper, not long after he died.