Team wants to honor former general partner

Updated: November 11, 2003, 11:22 AM ET
Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Texas Rangers have reportedly offered to donate land near The Ballpark at Arlington for President Bush's library if the area is chosen for the site.

The Rangers, who have joined with Arlington leaders in a bid to land the George W. Bush presidential library, are the latest players in a field of competitors that include the University of Texas at Austin as well as Baylor, Southern Methodist, Texas A&M and Texas Tech universities.

The Southwest Sports Group, which now owns the Rangers, has given Bush a written proposal offering to donate a choice of sites from more than 100 acres surrounding The Ballpark if the president chooses Arlington, Rangers president Mike Cramer told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Rangers owner Tom Hicks also discussed the initiative during private meetings with the president, Cramer said last week.

"We were told OK, thanks, it would be considered," Cramer told the newspaper in a telephone interview from Arlington. "The president knows we're out there, and we would certainly love to have the land on The Ballpark site."

Bush, who was managing partner of the team before he was elected governor, will ultimately make the selection on the site of his presidential library before leaving office.

The Rangers and the stadium authority control up to 160 acres around The Ballpark, Cramer said. Most of the available property, which lies primarily to the south or west of the park, is being used as paved parking, and the rest is grassland, he said.

Cramer said the presidential library would be within 200 to 500 yards of The Ballpark, depending on the president's choice of sites.

"There are plenty of places," Cramer said. "We'd be willing to contribute land in some way, shape or form to get the library here."

The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated in 1997 at Texas A&M University in College Station. It sits on 90 acres that include the future grave sites of the former president and first lady.

Supporters of a new library for President Bush say it could attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, creating new jobs and pumping millions of dollars into the regional economy. Such libraries serve as storehouses for millions of presidential documents, kept under exacting standards for humidity and temperature, and resources for historians and others.

Former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene said he contacted a senior administration official shortly after Bush took office, but was told that discussions about the library were premature.

"I would think that Arlington would certainly be on a list of possible sites because of the long relationship Arlington has had with the president," said Greene, who left the library campaign in March after being named the Dallas-based regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press