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Grizzlies sign ballpark lease extension; still looking to downtown

Gastonia GrizzliesIt’s two more years at Sims Legion Park for the Gastonia Grizzlies (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League), as the team signs a lease extension while work continues on a new downtown ballpark.

“We have certainly enjoyed our time at Sims Park and we are very appreciative of all the support from the City of Gastonia and the Gaston County community,” team owner Jesse Cole said in a press statement announcing the lease. “Our goal is to make the next two seasons our most memorable to date as we hope to leave a great legacy at Sims Park. Our goal is to continue to put forth all of our effort into putting our fans first to create the best possible fan experience.

“While we will focus on our fans and the Sims Park experience, one of our main goals will be to work diligently with the City of Gastonia to provide a downtown ballpark and entertainment complex for all of Gaston County to enjoy. We believe the ballpark can become the centerpiece of an entire entertainment district that will revitalize downtown and bring Gastonia together. The support for this project has been amazing thus far but we understand we need to continue to educate the community and share the vision of using the ballpark as a catalyst for a vibrant downtown.”

It’s been a year since the city and the Grizzlies have embarked on a study to determine the feasibility of a new downtown ballpark, and while no final findings have been reported, progress has been reported by all involved as of September. There is the serious chance the Grizzlies will outgrow the 1950 ballpark: The Grizzlies have led the CPL in attendance the past three seasons, while finishing in the top 10 in the country in summer-collegiate attendance.

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