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Columbia Wows Fayetteville Officials

Carolina League logoOfficials in Fayetteville have not been shy about using Spirit Communications Park as a model for a new ballpark in their city. A recent visit to the ballpark only validated that idea.

As was covered here recently, Fayetteville officials were planning a trip to Columbia, SC to check out Spirit Communications Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies (Low A; Sally League). The purpose of the trip was not only to see the facility and its operations, but to check out the work unfolding at the BullStreet development.

Perhaps it was to be expected, but as they toured with Fayetteville advisor and Fireflies owner Jason Freier, representatives from Fayetteville were impressed by their surroundings. More from the Fayetteville Observer:

The city and county officials were impressed by what they saw on this hot, steaming afternoon. Fans began tricking into the stadium two hours before the first pitch. Later, the city and county guests dined on hot dogs and hamburgers on the balcony overlooking the Bermuda turf of the diamond.

“This is an amazing project that, I think, is encouraging about what we want to do,” Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin said.

Other council members on the trip were Kathy Jensen, Jim Arp and Kirk deViere.

Keefe thinks the county Board of Commissioners will be interested in helping the city pay for the stadium’s construction.

“Nobody knows all the specifics,” Keefe said. “It would be premature to say at what levels, but I do think there will be some participation.”

The proposal in Fayetteville offers similarities to Columbia. The city would partner with the team, and potentially the county, on a roughly $37  $46.9 million facility in an attempt to spur development in downtown Fayetteville.

Negotiations are taking place between the Fayetteville and the Houston Astros, who would bring a High-A Carolina League franchise to the city. The two sides are working to complete a memorandum of understanding by August 19.

RELATED STORIES: Fayetteville Officials Visiting ColumbiaFreier to Represent Fayetteville in New Ballpark TalksNext Step for New Fayetteville Ballpark: Crunching the Numbers; Decision for Fayetteville: How Much to Spend on New Ballpark; Fayetteville, Astros On Path to Discuss New Ballpark; Study: MiLB, Carolina League Feasible in Fayetteville; Fayetteville MiLB Ballpark Site Pitched; Astros, Rangers Exploring Carolina League Teams; Fayetteville makes it official: Downtown ballpark proposed;Fayetteville/MiLB match surfaces again; Cal/Carolina League shift back in play?

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