After a brief delay over data disclosure, businessman John Hughes has shared the contents of a commissioned ballpark feasibility study for Warner Robins, but city officials came down against any public funding.
Warner Robins is part of the greater Macon area, which formerly hosted pro baseball at Luther Williams Field. No one is proposing a return of pro baseball to the scenic ballpark — apart from the most hardcore fans — and in recent years it’s been clear if pro baseball returned to the area, it would be in nearby Warner Robins.
Bill Davidson with National Sports Services performed a feasibility study on Warner Robins. Not surprisingly, he concluded the area can support pro baseball, although funding a new ballpark may be a matter of a public-private partnership. Also, Davidson’s study calls for a Single-A ballpark seating 5,000 or so. Given city’s geographic location, we’re talking Low Class A South Atlantic League: Warner Robins is 150 miles from Augusta and 170 miles from Rome. From WMAZ:
Davidson suggests a 5,000-seat ballpark with amenities like play areas and picnic spots.
“Like a mini-Turner Field,” says Davidson. “It’s not just about getting the baseball experience. It’s about a fun family experience.”
In deciding the scale of the project, Davidson says they modeled their plan after places like Savannah and Rome in Georgia, as well as, other Class-A teams in Kentucky and Indiana.
The study didn’t appear to garner much support from the Warner Robins City Council — the body sent Hughes a letter explicitly rejecting any public funding of a new ballpark: “Our officials are unable and unwilling to commit any City funding to the venture (or to any similar effort related to minor league baseball by others). However, we are supportive of the efforts and encourage you to pursue your plan. The City commits that it will not assist with any other minor league baseball effort through March of 2014.”
RELATED STORIES: Warner Robins puts off ballpark feasibility study; Warner Robins taking another run at pro baseball?; Macon seeking return of pro baseball; Luther Williams Field standing in for City Island Ballpark; Yet another independent league arises
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