An Arlington proposition to help fund at least half of the new ballpark passed easily with the opposition conceding early in the evening. The deal will keep the Rangers in their original hometown through the team’s 82nd season, which would come in 2053.
“It’s a phenomenal thing how so many generations now have grown up going to the Texas Rangers here in Arlington,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams told the crowd at a pro-stadium watching party at the Hilton Arlington. “And now we have an opportunity for us to say that we want the Rangers to be here for our kids and grandkids. … It is a historic time in which all of our leaders have come together here to work hard to ensure that we kept the Rangers now.”
Early voting totals gave the stadium measure a wide lead after nearly 90,000 people cast ballots in the run up to Election Day.
“We conceded once we saw those early voting totals,” said Andy Prior, spokesman for Save Our Stadium, a group that campaigned against the proposal. “When you look at the margin of those early-vote totals and you see how many people voted, there was no way we could make that up.”
Given the rainy weather Tuesday, Prior said, Save Our Stadium boosters knew that the early-vote total would hold up.
Rangers officials were overjoyed with the result.
“Our organization is very grateful to the citizens,” said Rob Matwick, Rangers executive vice president of business operations. “It’s been a great relationship for more than 40 years, and we’re looking forward to the next 40. … Arlington has been a great home.”
Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels released a statement saying the new ballpark will provide year-round benefits.
“A new ballpark will be a great benefit for our fans and our players. It will provide us with a state-of-the art year-round training facility that will be the best in Major League Baseball and will assist us in the quest to bring a World Championship to this great city,” the statement read. “This is a very exciting time for the City of Arlington and the Rangers organization.”
Williams said he breathed a sigh of relief once he saw the results trickle in.
“I’m definitely relieved,” he said. “I felt like this was very important for our city.”
Tracking polls last week indicated the proposition would pass by a wide margin, but “until you see the actual results, you don’t want to think too much,” Williams said.
The victory starts an aggressive timeline to retire Globe Life Park and get the Rangers in a new ballpark no later than 2021 and maybe as early as 2020.
Matwick said the team plans to get a quick start on the design of the new stadium and potentially hire a general contractor early next year.
The team also announced it will launch a website Wednesday to get the public’s input and ideas for the new stadium.