June 10th, 2009 | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall

Paulson's Team Lobbies Lents Advisory Committee

GregPeden_JarodOpperman

The push to build a minor-league baseball stadium in Lents got personal last week as team-owner Merritt Paulson's lobbyist, Greg Peden, tried to meet and speak individually with the 15 members of the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Advisory Committee.

The committee is the all-volunteer group that Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the swing vote on the impending deal, is looking to for guidance on whether to use $42.3 million in urban renewal dollars from Lents on the proposed stadium.

Rachel Lent Cunningham -- a member of the advisory council who is a descendant of Oliver P. Lent, the neighborhood's founder -- says Peden (pictured above) called her last week to talk about Paulson's hoped-for project. Cunningham and Peden never connected, but Cunningham isn't likely to be swayed anyway. She said urban renewal dollars in Lents should serve the vision of the community, and she said a baseball stadium is not part of the neighborhood's vision.

John Mulvey, another committee member, met Peden for coffee last week, at Peden's invitation. Mulvey, like others, said he appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from Paulson's team but has already decided he's leaning against the public-private project.

Several other members of the urban renewal group have expressed support for the stadium. But it's not clear now if a majority of the group will vote "yes" on the project.

Back on May 20, when Peden and Commissioner Randy Leonard met with Lents residents to update them on the project's details, it appeared an emergency meeting of the Lents urban renewal group to decide that question was imminent. Since then, there's been considerable delay; no emergency meeting has been scheduled. To Mulvey, that appears to be City Hall's fault. "My concern now is that they're holding the URAC on ice until they think they have the votes," Mulvey says.
 
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