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New-ballpark chat in Phoenixville

NY-Penn LeagueThough it appears a new-ballpark proposal in West Chester is dead, there’s now talk from a developer in nearby Phoenixville about putting a new ballpark in the center of town on the former Phoenix Steel site.

Phoenixville, Pa., itself isn’t too large — just over 16,000, according to the 2008 U.S. Census — but a team there could draw from most of Chester County, the plan also pushed by West Chester ballpark enthusiasts. But while the West Chester effort failed because of a lack of state funding, developer Manny DeMutis, president of The DeMutis Group, doesn’t appear to be waiting on state funding or having it as a cornerstone of a ballpark effort.

Instead, a steering committee of 20 Phoenixville and Chester County residents is looking at various locations and funding options, as well as what kind of baseball to go after, for a new ballpark. Really, there are only two options — affiliated NY-Penn League or independent Atlantic League — when it comes to the kind of baseball to be played in Phoenixville.

Though you can’t tell by the lack of public business activity, there’s plenty of interest among current team owners for NY-Penn League teams. At least one Eastern League owner is trying to sell their team in order to acquire an NY-Penn League team for their market, and there are several other owners looking to acquire as well. (Indeed, the bigger issue is the lack of markets and ballparks out there that could support an Eastern League team.) The advantage to operating a NY-Penn League team: you operate only during the best dates and don’t need to worry about rainouts and small crowds in April and May.

RELATED STORIES: West Chester ballpark proposal on life support; West Chester RDA: We won’t back new ballpark; Many questions remain with West Chester ballpark; Proposed West Chester ballpark moves forward; West Chester: We need serious ballpark proposal before proceeding; Details emerge on proposed West Chester ballpark; Phillies: Not so fast on the new West Chester ballpark; Phillies, West Chester agree on new ballpark

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