The High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau is pitching a new ballpark for the High Point-Thomasville HiToms (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) in an underused part of downtown on Washington Street.
The proposal, made public today, is in its infancy: there’s no funding, no site design, nothing but the desire to improve downtown High Point with a new ballpark. It would host multiple events as well as select HiToms games; the team owners say they’re not leaving Finch Field after a renovationseveral years ago. It would seem wasteful to let those ballpark improvements, which included a new metal grandstand and concourse concessions area, go to waste.
Still, that’s not stopping HP CVB officials from thinking big, and we are talking about North Carolina, which is certainly the cradle of the game of baseball. From the High Point Enterprise:
CVB board member and longtime Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis said redevelopment of Washington Street has been successful, but needs a strong anchor.
“This ballpark would certainly bring attention to that redevelopment, with the infrastructure they’re putting in on Washington Street,” Davis said. “If you bring that ball field there, it is going to be a major attraction. In other words, there are about 70,000 people who attend HiToms games a year. By putting it there, those 70,000 people would see Washington as a place to shop, and maybe go to the restaurants. It’s a good tie-in if you drop it at the front door of Washington Street.”
Possible ways of financing a new ballpark would be a bond referendum, private donations and even the establishment of a TIF district. And then there’s the issue of operating costs. Again, all of this talk is very preliminary — and we all know preliminary plans, before the emergence of price tags and invoices, always receive the most love until reality sets in.