Cleveland Indians Affiliate To Move To Eastlake

EASTLAKE, Ohio (AP) - City leaders have entered another deal to bring a minor league Cleveland Indians affiliate to town.

City Council this week approved Columbus (Ga.) RedStixx owner Rita Murphy Carfagna, a Shaker Heights resident, to own the team to play in Eastlake.

The city has spent more than $5 million to buy 30 acres for the stadium site, but still must borrow between $11 million and $16 million to build the ballpark, stadium consultant Thomas Chema said.

The city and Carfagna also must sign a proposed 25-year lease for her team to play in the Eastlake-owned ballpark.

"It is the centerpiece for a total economic redevelopment of our business district," Mayor Dan DiLiberto said. "With the interest in this, we already have offers to build a new hotel, new restaurants, new businesses."

The community can pick the new team name, said Mike Edwards, RedStixx general manager. Lake County will be in the name, not Eastlake, DiLiberto said.

The South Atlantic League, a 16-team Class A league, gave approval for the team to move to Eastlake, but major league baseball must give final approval.

DiLiberto guaranteed it would happen.

"The money is in place; it's there," he said.

The city's March 2001 deal with a Gates Mills investor fell apart late last year in the financially uncertain aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"People didn't think this could happen in Eastlake especially after it fell apart the first time," said Jeff Cain, a mechanic in the city garage. "It's going to bring a good feeling around here."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)