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Spartan

Greenville moves closer to West End Ballpark

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There is acutally more controversey surrounding this that I originally thought. The controversey is whether or not it is justifiable to spend taxpayer dollars on a new stadium for a private business.

The analogy was made that radio stations or tv stations do not recieve local taxpayer dollars to build and operate their facilities, so why should a baseball team revieve the money?

The Greenville Braves are certainly great to have around, but the question is over the practicallity of using tax payer dollars to fund somehting that not all taxpayers use, and those who do use it must pay more money to use it.

Do the Braves really add that much to the quality of life in Greenville? Do they really facilitate job growth in other sectors? Is it necessary to spend $25million in taxpayer money on a new stadium?

What do you think?

City moves toward West End ballpark deal

By John Boyanoski

STAFF WRITER - The Greenville News

City officials said a land swap to acquire property for a West End baseball stadium will happen soon, but they are still trying to bridge a funding gap with the Atlanta Braves to build a minor-league ball park.

If the city and Braves do not reach a deal for a $25 million stadium, city officials still want the five-acre tract in the West End so they can control growth there, said Mayor Knox White.

"We feel that land is vital to West End revitalization," he said.

City Manager Jim Bourey said he will likely meet with City Council Wednesday to discuss the baseball stadium, but wouldn't talk about specifics of the stadium deal or funding gap.

"We are going to reach some conclusion," he said. "We are working to get something done this week."

Officials in Pearl, Miss., a suburb of Jackson, have been trying to woo the Braves with a new stadium. Officials there said they expect to make an announcement Friday if they are getting the Braves or another team.

City officials have until Wednesday to acquire about 20 parcels off Green Avenue next to Greenville High to swap for five acres owned by the school district in the West End.

"We are working on that and it is going very well," Bourey said. "We are close."

The district bought the West End land for $1.9 million in April. City officials will pay the district the remaining difference if they do not spend $1.9 million on the new property.

The school board can give an extension, but that decision has not been made, said Oby Lyles, district spokesman.

The Braves are in the last year of their lease at the Mauldin Road Stadium, where they have played since 1984.

The city initially looked at upgrading the Mauldin Road stadium, but a downtown stadium became more feasible because money from the downtown tax district is available to pay for it, White said. That money could not be used to upgrade or build a new stadium at Mauldin Road.

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$25 million is alot for any city to dish out. I guess it depends on how much people like baseball in Greenville. It would be great if some local organizations could dish in some of that money to cut away some of the opposition. When you use tax dollars to build a sports facility in any city, there is going to be opposition. But I hope Greenville can work out something to get its new stadium.

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I think everyone in Greenville wants the Bravew to stay, and not move to Pearl, MS.

Maybe being able to have a baseball team makes the city seem "larger" since big cities have baseball teams as well.

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It's been so great that things worked out the way they did. I'm glad the City didn't throw that kind of money at a team. :thumbsup:

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It's been so great that things worked out the way they did. I'm glad the City didn't throw that kind of money at a team. :thumbsup:

The Drive has been very successful but I wish and still hope that someday we'll get another AA team here. The quality of baseball is so much better than the low "A" league we currently have. I'm not a Braves fan but do miss having a AA team.

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I understand that desire for better performance, but keep in mind the ticket and concession prices will immediately rise because the team will cost more to operate.

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It's kinda funny to keep track of the attendance statistics for the Mississippi Braves as compared to the Greenville Drive. Greenville (and the Drive) definitely got the better of the two deals.

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I understand that desire for better performance, but keep in mind the ticket and concession prices will immediately rise because the team will cost more to operate.

I don't think the prices would necessarily rise. I frequently visit Chattanooga on business so I glanced at the Lookouts' website - single game tickets range from $2-8 (for a AA team). For the Drive, they range from $5-8. So it's essentially the same thing. I don't see why concession prices would need to rise either. It's not as if Fluor Field/Drive is a huge bargain as compared to Municipal Stadium/G-Braves.

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