Bellmead — Bellmead voters passed a hotel & motel tax increase to fund a new sports complex.
Passing the measure with 75 percent of the vote, the city can raise the hotel & motel tax by two percent. That money will be used to fund day-to-day operations and upkeep for a proposed complex which will serve as the home for the Waco Bluecats baseball team.
"It was really a validation for what we've been working on for so long," Mark Schuster, CEO of Ventura Sports Group said. "This is something the residents of Bellmead want in their community."
Ventura Sports Group owns and operates the Southwestern League of Professional Baseball and five of the league's six teams, including Waco's.
Schuster said the league didn't ask for the vote but he said the support it received was thrilling. A couple who voted in favor of the tax measure said they wanted to help boost the city's economy and give their family and others in Bellmead another family-friendly entertainment option.
"It's just that it's going to be an advantage for the community to get more money," Gary Guerra said. "....Even families might be able to benefit off of that."
Now that the tax measure passed, what's next to get the Bluecats on the field? Schuster said they still have to announce the league's final three cities but plan to do so before the end of June.
They are still scheduled to play ball in April 2019 but three of the six cities still need ballparks, including Bellmead.
"We're finalizing the architectural plans for the ballpark," Schuster said. "We need to have our shovels in the ground in the summertime."