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The locally owned Hillsboro Hops are one of 120 teams participating in the Major League Baseball’s (MLB) newly formed Professional Development League. Each of these 120 teams are subject to MLB’s new facility standards – the first such upgrade in 30 years – and Hops’ current home fails in several key areas:
Gender equity: There is currently no women’s locker room for players, coaches and umpires.
Professional facilities and player wellness: Visiting teams don’t have a clubhouse – forcing them to use the football stadium next door – and the Hops lack a weight room.
Building a new ballpark is the most efficient, guaranteed way to meet these new MLB standards, and keep the Hops in Hillsboro, while creating added long-term benefits for the local community.
After exploring many options, studies determined that building a new city-owned ballpark would be 15+% more cost-effective than renovating Ron Tonkin Field due to extenuating site constraints. Building a new ballpark increases access and equity for a new generation of players, staff and fans, and adds more versatile year-round uses and enhanced community benefits for decades to come.
In addition, building a new ballpark secures Ron Tonkin Field as a treasured public asset and one of the best community fields anywhere – a potential future host site to destination events like the Little League Baseball World Series, as well as high school and college baseball and softball games.
The Hops have secured an unprecedented $82 million in private funding, representing 65% of the project cost. Comparatively, other minor league ballparks draw 30-40% on average from private sources, with the majority coming from public sources.
The City of Hillsboro has also committed funding for the project from Transient Lodging Tax revenues, as detailed here. Hillsboro and the Hops are now working to secure the remaining funding.
The City of Hillsboro will own the new ballpark, and retain exclusive ownership and operation of Ron Tonkin Field. The Hops will be responsible for all new ballpark expenses, including utilities and maintenance.
The Hillsboro Hops owners are committed to the ball club, its future in Hillsboro, and to the Hops community. The $82 million they are contributing includes $80 million through bond financing, representing the maximum amount in fixed income loans that they were able to secure for this project. Going forward, all Hillsboro Hops revenue will go toward repaying the loan’s principal and interest for many years to come. In essence, the stadium will pay for itself.
In order to remain in Hillsboro and participate in the Professional Development League, the Hops must meet MLB’s new facility standards. The team has been granted a March 15, 2024 deadline extension to secure funding for the new ballpark.
Per Major League Baseball: “...if the Club is unable to confirm that the ballpark project is fully funded by March 15, 2024, the Club will need to explore other possible options including potential relocation…[or] possible termination of the Club’s PDL License Agreement.”
The current plan to build the new ballpark does not include an increase to property taxes.
The new, city-owned ballpark will be built on the northwest side of the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex. The ballpark is designed as an enhanced year-round outdoor entertainment venue for Hops home baseball games, concerts, festivals, community events and amateur baseball and softball games. Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2024, with completion during the summer of 2025.
The Hops and Hillsboro are utilizing a Design-Build process for this project that streamlines the design and construction, resulting in greater flexibility and efficiencies that can save time and resources.
The new, city-owned ballpark will be able to accommodate up to 6,000 people for baseball and up to 7,000 for concerts and other events. The Hops are dedicated to providing an enhanced fan experience that remains affordable and accessible to community members of diverse backgrounds.
Plans for the new ballpark also include a revamped food and beverage program, along with new group and hospitality options for fans and local businesses. The ballpark is strategically designed to provide optimal shade in the seating bowl, solving the number one complaint about the current facility.
The ballpark is designed as a year-round outdoor entertainment venue for concerts, festivals, community events and amateur baseball games. The ability to accommodate as many as 7,000 people for concerts and events fills a much-needed gap in the region for a mid-sized entertainment venue.
The new ballpark is a smart and safe investment for Hillsboro, our region, and our state. A 2023 ECONorthwest study of the new ballpark outlines extensive regional benefits, including:
$190 million in local economic output, approximately 1,000 full-time jobs, and $83 million in labor income during construction
$64 million in annual economic activity once the stadium is open, as well as $3 million in annual state and local taxes
380+ annual full-time jobs once the stadium opens, and $20 million in annual paid wages
Design-builder Mortenson, along with SRG Partnership and Populous, have been contracted by the City of Hillsboro to work on a new ballpark. Learn more about the process on the City of Hillboro’s website here.
The Hops will play the 2024 season at Ron Tonkin Field.
Ron Tonkin Field will remain a treasured public asset, under ownership by the City of Hillsboro, and one of the best community fields anywhere. By building a new ballpark, Ron Tonkin Field can become an even bigger asset to the Hillsboro community, serving as a potential future host site to destination events like the Little League Baseball World Series, as well as high school and college baseball and softball games.
Youth sports will continue to flourish, and the creation of new sports fields is an important part of this project. In addition, the construction of a new ballpark secures Ron Tonkin Field as a city-owned asset for community and destination sporting events. Please check the City of Hillsboro website for the latest on replacement field options.
Please continue to check back here for the latest on the new ballpark and the Hops’ future in Hillsboro. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X/Twitter .