At least seven city commissioners oppose plans for a new downtown Augusta GreenJackets ballpark in its current incarnation, meaning Cal Ripken Jr. and Major Deke Copenhaver have a major sales and planning project on their hands.
At least seven city commissioners oppose plans for a new downtown Augusta GreenJackets (Low Class A; Sally League) ballpark in its current incarnation, meaning Cal Ripken Jr. and Major Deke Copenhaver have a major sales and planning project on their hands.
The big issue for commissioners is simple: there’s just no plan being proposed to them. So far Copenhaver has discussed the outlines of a new ballpark, where it would go and what it would look like. He’s also discussed some potential sources of funding — basically, tax-increment financing — without going into specifics.
And the biggest specific will be the amount of money Ripken Baseball will contribute to the project. We suspect the folks there have a pretty good idea of what they’re willing to spend for a Lake Olmstead Stadium replacement — but without the rest of the plan in place, commissioners won’t have that information.
But the biggest issue here is Copenhaver’s dubious leadership. After working on the issue for two years, he’s not yet come up with much in the way of specifics. A much ballyhooed show of support from Gov. Sonny Perdue ended up fizzling out after it was discovered a transfer of 17 acres from the state to the city couldn’t happen until 2010 — making Copenhaver’s promise of a 2009 groundbreaking worthless. Copenhaver has shown he wants a ballpark, and there are a lot of good reasons for one, but so far he’s been as much an enemy to the project as a friend.
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