OREM, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The Orem Owlz will not be taking flight.
Owlz owner Jeff Katofsky announced on Monday that he will not be moving the team to Pueblo, Colorado, as was announced last month.
The Owlz, the rookie league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, will continue to play at Utah Valley University, as they have since 2005.
Katofsky had wanted to build a new stadium and multi-sports complex in Pueblo, but financing for the deal was not approved by city leaders.
Katofsky released the following statement on Monday:
“Previously, we announced a likely deal with the City and County of Pueblo, Colorado, to open a youth sports facility, multiple hotels and a new home for the Owlz. I have always stated that is was a dream and goal of mine to have a youth sports facility for boys and girls to learn baseball, team sports and the leadership and athletic lessons that ensue. I cautioned that the transaction was preliminary and there were a lot of details to finalize the deal. In the end, some within the City of Pueblo, as well as other related governmental agencies, were either unable or unwilling to consummate the written and oral promises that were made to our ownership groups.
“The impetus for this transaction was multi-purpose. Pueblo Colorado has a beautiful Historic Downtown with a breathtaking Riverwalk and wonderful, welcoming people. From a business standpoint, however, it is stagnant and in dire need of an anchor. Our goal was to invest approximately $50,000,000 in order to revitalize Pueblo through sports, tourism and growth that would bring literally thousands of people to Pueblo weekly during baseball season. In addition, Pueblo would have a multi-use facility for events, concerts, graduations, high school and college games, soccer and a host of exciting community gatherings. Unfortunately, those opposed to this economic juggernaut had the louder voice. For whatever reasons, we seemed to believe in Pueblo more that this outspoken minority.
“The Owlz will continue to enjoy the most beautiful ballpark in all of Minor League Baseball and its positive relationship with Utah Valley University. We wish our friends in Pueblo success and prosperity.”
The Owlz first started playing baseball in Provo in 2001 before moving to Orem in 2005.