Photo by Marco Torres
Houston is a rambling, gambling town and this year Best of Houston celebrates those in the community who are taking a chance.
At baseball's major league level, the stadium boom of the 1990s was built on promises of economic stimulation and community pride, with cities investing hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to fund new workplaces for their local teams. The "if you build it, they will come" mantra from the 1989 classic Field of Dreams lit the way for more than 20 cities to approve funds to break ground on new stadiums between 1990 and 2008.
Whether all those communities saw an economic return on their investment is a matter of debate, but Sugar Land heard the mantra in 2008 when voters approved the investment of tens of millions of dollars to build a minor-league baseball stadium. Civic leaders tossed around phrases like "spur economic activity" and "potential ancillary development" while asking for several different taxing mechanisms.
Sugar Land's vision entailed fewer taxpayer dollars than those of their big-league metropolitan counterparts, but theirs came with far more risk and far fewer promises. Questions abounded, including: Which minor-league team could the city of Sugar Land attract? How thirsty is Sugar Land for minor-league baseball? Would the Houston Astros throw up roadblocks, viewing Sugar Land's efforts as competition?More »