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Challenge in Augusta: Paying for new ballpark

Augusta GreenJacketsMeetings between representatives of Ripken Baseball and city officials over a new downtown ballpark keep coming back to one huge issue: how to pay for a new Augusta GreenJackets (Low Class A; Sally League) facility.

A Wednesday meeting saw City Administrator Fred Russell hold firm on opposition to using general funds for a Lake Olmstead Stadium replacement, according to the Augusta Chronicle. Not a surprise — very few cities want to use general funds to pay for a new ballpark — but there’s little else in the city financial arsenal for any public contribution. There’s the chance a new sales tax (subject to public referendum approval) could help pay for the ballpark, but that’s more than a year down the line.

Which is probably when we’ll see some sort of resolution to the issue, anyway. The downtown parcel envisioned as a ballpark site still is controlled by the state (and the state shows no sign of giving up control of the land). Without knowing what any public contribution can be, it’s hard for Ripken Baseball and other developers to raise funds for the project. So everything is stuck in neutral — for now.

RELATED STORIES: Eiseman: We’re not tied to Augusta riverfront location; Augusta approves negotiations for new GreenJackets ballparkAugusta ballpark back in play?


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