The Fort Worth Cats baseball team could return and play as early as next year in a refurbished LaGrave Field, a City Council member said Friday.
"A lot of progress has been made recently,” said City Council member Carlos Flores, who represents that part of North Fort Worth. “(“I’m) very optimistic this will happen and happen soon."
LaGrave Field has fallen into a state of disrepair since the Cats played their last game in 2014.
Flores said promoters are more optimistic since voters last week approved a $250 million bond issue for Panther Island, a massive development along the Trinity River just north of downtown – near the stadium.
"I don't have to tell you that something like LaGrave Field would be integral and right at home with everything we're trying to do with Panther Island,” he said. "Getting past the weeds and some of the overgrowth is not hard."
Negotiations are complicated because they involved swapping land with the Tarrant Regional Water District and setting up a nonprofit to operate the team, Flores said.
Professional baseball in Fort Worth dates back to the 1880s. Some of the sport's biggest names, including Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth, once swung their bats there.
Frustrated baseball fans have tried to bring baseball back to Fort Worth without any luck.
A Facebook page is dedicated to "Save LaGrave."
“Ever since it closed I’ve been hoping that someday, somebody out of the blue will come and see the value that’s in it,” said Hayden Clark, the Cats’ last mascot.