CAT steps in to help keep Chiefs baseball in Peoria

By Audrey Williams

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 10:53 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. --   There is a plan in motion to keep the lights on at the Peoria Chiefs Stadium.  Part of the plan includes a new name.

"I'm happy to announce that we a restructuring plan that deals with the issues causing financial strain on the team," said Peoria Chiefs President Rocky Vonachen.

Thursday afternoon Chiefs, city and business leaders came together to unveil the $7.3 million dollar plan.

First, a name change. Caterpillar will pay the Chiefs $2 million over ten years for stadium naming rights.  Cat officials say they have a large role in the community and want to make the region appealing. 

"As our ability to attract talent, whether it's folks who work in the factory or whether it's an engineer from outside of the area to come to Peoria, we want to make sure it's an attractive place for those employees," said Jim Baumgartner, Caterpillar Director of Corporate Public Affairs.

The Chiefs will also refinance the mortgage they have with 7 banks, and change to Morton Community Bank, saving $1.2 million.

Along with that, the owner group of over 50 people will contribute a new investment of $2.7 million.

And finally, the City is looking to take over bond payments to the tune of $150,000 a year for 8 years.

"The considerable resources that the Council has focused on in the downtown, in the warehouse district and along the riverfront to have a potential to have this stadium dark is not a good option," said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis.

All the money coming together is contingent upon approval from the Council Tuesday night. Caterpillar officials did say if the deal does not go through Tuesday, their offer is off the table.

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