Discussions between the city of Augusta and Ripken Baseball Group about building a new Augusta GreenJackets stadium got under way Friday, with Ripken Vice President Jeff Eiseman meeting with city finance, recreation and administrative personnel via conference call.
"It was a wide-ranging conversation," Administrator Fred Russell said.
Topics included making sure the team's owner was open to locations besides the state-owned Golf & Garden property, that developers were receptive to bundling the stadium with other items and that they were aware "it would be a joint project" not entirely funded by the city, Russell said.
Last year, Augusta Commission members vetoed a plan supported by Mayor Deke Copenhaver to build a $38 million multipurpose stadium complex at the vacant Golf & Gardens site, and voters in a straw poll also rejected the idea. In recent weeks, however, the issue returned to the table, and six commissioners agreed last week to explore stadium options.
Russell said the meeting included Recreation, Parks and Facilities Director Tom Beck; Assistant City Finance Director Tim Schroer; and bond attorney Jim Plunkett.
Eiseman appeared open to several locations around the city, and even vacant, privately owned Regency Mall isn't completely out of the picture, Russell said.
Financing options briefly discussed included using revenues from a tax allocation district, new market tax credits, payment in lieu of taxes and even a new state program that diverts sales tax revenues to regionally significant recreation projects, he said.