Plans to field a summer-collegiate Coastal Plan League team in Colonial Heights, VA starting next season are not final, but all indications are that progress is being made.
Last weekend, the CPL announced plans for an expansion team in Colonial Heights that would begin play in 2020. The club would be backed by an ownership group led by Chris Martin and would play home games at Shepherd Stadium, a facility that dates to 1951 and is currently used for Colonial Heights American Legion Post 284 baseball and other events.
All parties involved are pushing for the planned 2020 launch of the team, but there is still some work to be done. Team ownership and the city have not finalized a lease agreement. Furthermore, while Shepherd Stadium has received improvements in recent years, further upgrades will be needed in order to make it a suitable facility for a CPL team. That leaves the city and team ownership with plenty to resolve before an agreement is finalized, but city officials–including director of Parks and Recreation Craig Skalak and manager Douglas Smith–indicate that the two sides are working toward a deal. More from The Progress-Index:
Skalak and Smith were adamant that a potential CPL team would not supplant any events that are typical held there.
Still, there have been a couple of improvements that have been a part of initial talks between the city and the CPL franchise, including adding padding to the outfield walls and increasing netting that would protect spectators from foul balls behind home plate and from home run balls in the outfield. Smith noted that padding was already in the capital improvement budget for next year, regardless of a new team coming to Shepherd.
The city is waiting to get a proposal on a lease agreement in a “more formal, draft form” that could be taken before city council for discussion and debate, according to Smith. “But we are not at that point yet, we do not have the documentation together for all that,” Smith said.
“That’s being fast-tracked,” Skalak added. “We will be getting some information between the city and the owner very soon. I see things really speeding up in the very near future.”
Colonial Heights is located in the Tri-Cities area, which is also includes Petersburg, a former CPL market. The Petersburg Generals played at the Petersburg Sports Complex from 2000-2016