Possible downtown ballpark investors visit Augusta

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at six o'clock, October 2, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A baseball stadium in downtown Augusta? City leaders say it's more than just a game plan--it's a plan they're hoping to hit out of the ball park. Today, at least two new people joined the team.

"Oh God, it would bring so many more people in," says Bijou Fields. She works at a local shop across from Augusta's Golf and Gardens, which is the planned site of a new baseball stadium. "It's like you get excited, you know, that's what we need."

It's a $25 million project that city leaders are calling a home run for the local economy. Developer Jim Jacoby and former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening were in town today surveying the possibilities of making the stadium a multi-use facility in attempt to bring sports, shops, and even places to live all in one space.

"Well, not only for myself but other people in the downtown area, this is an opportunity we have been waiting on," said Linda Thabiti, a local store owner.

Book store owner David Hutchison says, "Oh absolutely, you know the local businesses that have moved down here have really built up something already, and anything else that brings more traffic down attracts more retail stores and just makes downtown that much more pleasant for people to shop."

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver says he is excited about the possibilities. "Personally, to have people living, working, and playing there all year long, that in my mind would be something I'd like to see, and the site has the potential for that."

"I think it has extraordinary potential," said Mr. Glendening. "It is really a neat location."

Jacoby, an Atlanta developer, added, "We're very pleasantly surprised. Well, I think it has arrived, but I think to the next level we'd like to be a part."

"Downtown's already hopping, and anything that they can do in terms of bringing a baseball stadium down here to attract more people that can only be better for everybody," said Hutchison.

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