News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, March 23, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It is being called a new entertainment complex along Augusta's riverfront. We are talking baseball, football and even an events center that would sit on the old Golf and Gardens property.
The Ripken Group made the pitch to city and school leaders Friday afternoon.
"I can't wait to see what this new field is like," said GreenJackets fan Kevin Enwright, who hopes to one day see his team play in downtown Augusta. "I'm a huge fan. I love my GreenJackets."
His idea may not be so farfetched. The plans are already on the table in the GreenJackets office.
"There is no where for people to congregate," said Jeff Eiseman, vice president of Ripken Baseball. "You can't sit and have a meal and look at the water in downtown Augusta. Why not have that?"
Did we mention the attached riverfront events center?
"But it's also a club level for the seating as well," Eiseman said.
The Ripken Group is also suggesting a field for baseball and football that could all be used by the soon-to-be-merged Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences University.
"We could see major league soccer exhibitions going on here. We can the SEC and ACC baseball championships happening here. There are so many events that could come, but we can't do this at Lake Olmstead."
Eiseman predicts the project could cost anywhere between $25 million and $30 million.
"We are looking at a public-private partnership. I know people are like what does that mean?" Eiseman said. "We are committed to the project. We are committed to helping finance the project. There will be real money in the game from Ripken."
But will they need any investment from the city?
"It is not necessarily that we are going to need investment from the city," Eiseman said. "We have to look to see how we are going to finance this project. It is going to be more than just a home for the GreenJacekts. It will be an outdoor civic center for the entire region."
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