Bristol, TN could further explore a new ballpark for the Bristol Pirates (Rookie; Appalachian League), as officials are mulling a study that would provide more details on a possible facility.
The Pirates currently play home games at the aging Boyce Cox Field, a facility located on the Virginia side of the twin cities of Bristol, VA and Bristol, TN. Officials on the Tennessee side have considered the idea of building a new ballpark for the Pirates, approving an initial study in 2015 to explore the feasibility of a facility.
Bristol, TN officials are now discussing another step in the process, which calls for a second study that thoroughly considers particulars such as the ballpark’s cost, location, operations, and more. Funding for that potential study is not finalized at this point, but the idea appeared to gain some traction at a recent city council meeting. More from the Bristol Herald Courier:
[Bristol Tennessee City Manager Bill] Sorah said the next step would be another study, which would take an in-depth look to determine the exact location, potential financial partners, construction costs and operation strategies. But before a new study is launched, a third financial partner should be identified so the study — estimated at $50,000 — could be split three ways between the city, Bristol Baseball and the partner, he said.
At the meeting, Councilman Chad Keen said it’s time to take the next step.
Bristol Virginia Mayor Kevin Mumpower said he and Keen have had discussions about the future of the ballparks in Bristol, and, while Bristol, Virginia, has limited potential as a financial partner, he said he can see the city being a partner in logistics and discussions.
Bristol, Tennessee’s 2020 fiscal budget has not been finalized, and council has not voted to commission a new study.
If a new ballpark were to eventually come to fruition, it could mark the latest in a wave of recent Appalachian League facility improvements. Clubs such as the Pulaski Yankees and Johnson City Cardinals have found success with ballpark renovations, while the Elizabethon Twins are preparing for upgrades at Joe O’Brien Field and Kingsport, TN officials have been kicking around the idea of a new ballpark for the Kingsport Mets.
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