With no firm construction timeline set for a new Augusta GreenJackets (Low A; Sally League) ballpark, team officials are considering a 2018 opening.
Last month, North Augusta, SC officials openly discussed the possibility that the ballpark and portions of the surrounding Project Jackson development could open in the middle of the 2017 season. However, that was contingent on construction beginning this summer.
The idea of planning for a 2018 opening makes sense. For starters, construction is expected to take at least 12-14 months, meaning that even if it were to begin within the next couple of weeks, the GreenJackets would at best have a small number of home games before the end of the 2017 season. Furthermore, a 2018 opening also eliminates any doubt about how the GreenJackets can plan to proceed for next season at their current facility, Lake Olmstead Stadium.
According to Jeff Eiseman, an owner in the GreenJackets along with Chris Schoen, no final decision has been been made, though he said that he thinks a 2018 opener makes sense for the team and the other partners involved in Project Jackson. More from the Aiken Standard:
“It allowed the developers to get everything in order. From the ballclub standpoint it’s very difficult, because you’re trying to make plans and you have to be careful whether you’re talking to your season-ticket base or you’re talking to your partnerships from a sponsorship, marketing perspective,” Eiseman said of the delay. “You want to be able to tell them a cohesive message, and it’s challenging when you believe you’re going to be starting something and there’s a setback.”
The setbacks have afforded the organization to give Lake Olmstead “a proper send-off” next year, according to Eiseman. He also noted that he doesn’t expect any other major setbacks before the project can get underway.
“To put it in baseball terms, we’ve got the bases loaded with no outs and the top of the lineup at the plate with a 3-0 count. We’re pretty close, but we still have to get through this inning and knock in a run,” Eiseman said.
Along with the ballpark, the 29.4 acre Project Jackson will include new apartments, restaurant and retail space, offices, and a hotel.
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