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Plan to sell property for new Augusta ballpark advances in General Assembly

A bill that would have the state selling 16 acres of land in Augusta to a developer looking at a ballpark for the Augusta GreenJackets should pass the General Assembly.

A 16-acre site in Augusta envisioned as the future home of the Augusta GreenJackets (Low Class A; Sally League) will be sold by the state under the terms of a bill that should pass the Georgia General Assembly next month.

The bill isn't that controversial, and it will move ballpark discussions to the next level. The parcel, once envisioned as the site of a new home for the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, is in a desirable location across from a new Trade, Exhibition, and Events Center. The issue is whether the city pushes a buyer toward building a new ballpark and other entertainment venues.

Of course, 16 acres isn't a whole lot when you're talking about a multi-use entertainment complex, as the ballpark will take up at least 10 acres of the parcel, leaving not much for development. The city is already discussing some sort of tax-increment financing — or, in Georgia, a tax-allocation district — to divert increased property-tax revenues toward the project financing. Setting up a TAD would not require a referendum.

Of course, the GreenJackets are a long ways from a new ballpark. But things are moving in that direction, albeit slowly.

RELATED STORIES: Support for new Augusta ballpark weak; Opposition rises to new Augusta ballpark; Gov supports Augusta ballpark plan

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