Officials continue to discuss the possibility of a new Gastonia Grizzlies‘ (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) ballpark, and could take some action this week.
Under a proposal that has been floated in Gastonia, a new $10 million to $15 million ballpark for the Grizzlies would be constructed in the city’s downtown and also be suitable to host other events. It would be part of a plan that has been billed as the Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment (FUSE) district, which would include the ballpark and additional development.
During their meeting on Tuesday, July 18, city officials are expected to reveal more information about the proposal. The City Council meeting that day is set to feature several key steps, including a potential decision on an architectural and engineering services firm and a presentation on the plan. More from the Gaston Gazette:
First and foremost, they’ll be asked to make a decision on hiring an architectural and engineering services firm to direct the creation of the Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment district. Four companies submitted bids for the work, and a local selection committee reviewed those proposals. The panel included city staff, representatives of the Gastonia Grizzlies, and the UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative.
That committee recommended hiring Pendulum Studio, a firm based in Kansas City, Missouri, and having it partner with LaBella Associates of Charlotte to oversee the work. Should City Council accept that suggestion Tuesday, staff would finalize the project scope and negotiate a contract with Pendulum for city leaders to vote on in August.
Also on Tuesday, council members will hear the results of a market analysis that was prepared to assess the potential impact of creating the FUSE district. Omar Kashef, project manager of the UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative, will lead the presentation. He’ll focus on details such as how the project could reap the rewards of the population spikes in metro Charlotte, particularly as that wave of growth and development trends west of the Catawba River.
Kristy Crisp, the city’s economic development director, will also give an overall report on where the FUSE district’s development stands.
The city took a major step last October by voting to acquire 16 acres of downtown land for nearly $4 million. It has since closed on several properties relating to that purchase. If constructed, the new ballpark would replace Sims Legion Field as the home of the Grizzlies.