Officials with the Philadelphia Phillies tell us they made no commitment to bringing a minor-league team to West Chester, Pa., as a press conference today to announce the project showed plenty of holes in the plan for a new $40-million ballpark.
The press conference today had been billed as a presentation for a fait accompli of a ballpark, but it was anything but. First, the Philadelphia Phillies had not, despite what West Chester organizers had claimed, committed a Class A team to the project; they had not promised anything but some general support. Second, funding for the project is anything but assured; it relies on $20 million in state money not yet committed by state politicians. Third, the 30-acre brownfield site is still in private hands; we’re guessing the asking price just went up a notch or 10 when the ballpark project was announced.
So, in reality, we’re back to where we were six months or three years ago: it’s no secret West Chester/Chester County politicos have been seeking a new ballpark. None of this is to say that a new ballpark won’t be opening in 2013 with the Phillies involved, only that some of the Chester County folks got ahead of themselves. But with no land, half the budget, some territorial issues and no clear support from the Phillies to work through some of these issues, we still have the dream of a Class A ballpark — and nothing more.
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