City Prepares for Florence Freedom to Be Sold
The Florence Freedom appear to be up for sale.
Florence city council this week approved an assignment, assumption, and third amendment to the lease with the team at the municipally-owned UC Health Stadium, where the Freedom play.
Owner Kim Brown, who took over the team in January of last year when her husband Clint Brown died suddenly, declined to comment, saying that conversations at this point are confidential.
However, at Florence city council on Tuesday night, it was revealed that a group with four principals from the local area is looking to purchase the team. Florence gave its blessing to the potential new ownership by altering the lease, which was set to expire in September of next year.
It was stated that the potential sale received verbal approval from the Frontier League and that written approval is expected soon.
The sale could close anywhere from a week or a month from now, or possibly even several months, city officials said. Freedom employees have been informed, it was stated.
Kim Brown has acted as the Assistant General Manager of operations for a number of years, and assumed ownership after the sudden death of her husband.
Clint Brown, of Canterbury Baseball, purchased the team for $3 million when it was in bankruptcy in 2004. The team took the field in what was originally branded as Champion Window Stadium, with former Cincinnati Red Tom Browning as the manager.
Browning was fired soon after and replaced by the scion of another famous Red, Pete Rose, Jr.
After struggling in the early seasons, the Freedom have become regular playoff contenders in recent years and currently have the best record in the Frontier League at 35-17.
Florence Mayor Diane Whalen said the team will remain in Florence.
"Our partnership with Canterbury Baseball and the Brown family has always been a positive one," said Whalen. "Kim Brown has done a great job working during a difficult personal time. Her desire is for the team to remain in Florence, and the stadium to continue to be a great place for the community to gather. We feel confident her decision and selection of new owners will allow the team to continue to operate here, and the stadium to become even more of a community gathering place."
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor