Pending voter approval of a bond issue that includes funds for a new ballpark, Mint Hill, NC could field a summer-collegiate Coastal Plain League team starting in 2020.
Matthews, NC businessman and experienced baseball executive Alain Lillie is working to bring a CPL team to Mint Hill. The club would play its game in a new 2,500-seat ballpark, funding for which is included in a $15-million parks and recreation bond issue that will go before Mint Hill voters in November.
Earlier this month, the Mint Hill Board of Commissioners approved a tentative lease with Lillie that would allow the club to begin play at the ballpark in 2020. If the bond issue is approved by voters, construction of the ballpark will move forward while Lillie will relocate an unidentified CPL team to Mint Hill. More from Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly:
The Mint Hill Board of Commissioners approved a tentative lease agreement with Lillie at its Aug. 16 meeting that will bring a Coastal Plain League baseball franchise to the town. The CPL is a summer collegiate baseball league that features some of the top college players in the country. If the bond is approved, the team will play 26 regular-season home games in the proposed stadium from late May to mid-August each summer beginning in 2020. There also could be several post-season games if the team qualifies for the playoffs.
Lillie will pay the town $50,000 a year the first five years of the 10-year lease agreement and $55,000 a year the last five years of the contract. Lillie said he has an agreement with a current CPL franchise to buy that team and move it to Mint Hill if the bond is approved.
“It’s subject to the vote, but we are under contract to buy a Coastal Plain League team, which I can’t identify,” Lillie said after the board meeting. “If the bond vote goes through, we will bring some of the best college players in the nation here. It will be a great atmosphere. I think this will be one of the best facilities in the Coastal Plain League.”
Lillie, who once worked for the San Francisco Giants and owned a minor league-affiliated team, said he wants to give baseball “back to the fans.” The most expensive ticket will cost $9, and concession items will be reasonably priced so families can afford to attend games. There will also be free parking at all events at the stadium.
Mint Hill is a suburb of Charlotte.