CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians have a lot on their to-do list, from a name change and rebranding to figuring out their lease at Progressive Field. While both are in the works, one might be pushing further along with the efforts of public officials in Ohio.
Set to expire in 2023, the Tribe's lease at Progressive Field has been a topic of discussion between the organization and Cuyahoga County officials, although in May the county said they had been unable to reach an agreement at that point of the discussions.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish has previously voiced he was optimistic that the organization would be able to come to an agreement to ensure the team remained in Cleveland past 2023, but not entirely certain of the eventual outcome.
"It’s critical we extend the lease. That’s the way we keep the team in Cleveland is through the lease, the same way that we did with the Cavaliers. Talks are ongoing, they’ve been ongoing, I’m optimistic, but who knows,” Budish said in May.
But now, in July, those talks have progressed and moved to an even higher level, reaching Gov. Mike DeWine.
The governor confirmed Tuesday that the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County leaders have approached him seeking state assistance in securing a lease extension for the Tribe at Progressive Field.
Budish and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson both reached out DeWine for his support, the governor's office said.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding the Tribe not coming to an agreement on a lease extension was the possibility of the team moving as a result.
"Looking at the finances of baseball these days, if we don’t do everything we can to keep them, I’m sure they’ll be not just one suitor, but suitors all over the country trying to grab the Indians away from us,” Budish said in May.
A spokesperson for Budish sent the following statement Tuesday in response to the update on discussions moving forward with the lease extension:
Progressive Field is more than the home to the Cleveland Indians - it’s jobs, it’s development and it’s a destination for Northeast Ohio and beyond. We’re in conversations with the city and the team, and when the discussions are complete, we’ll discuss it publicly.
The Tribe issued the following statement regarding the discussions about the lease at Progressive Field:
We have begun dialogue with the appropriate public officials about the Progressive Field lease, which expires in 2023. The lease is a complex, multi-faceted agreement for our public/private partnership. We want those involved to have the time needed to conduct a thoughtful and thorough review with the future in mind. It’s premature to comment on any aspect beyond that at this point in time.
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