Ripken set on downtown Augusta stadium

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Cal Ripken Jr. said Tuesday night that he is feeling a bit more positive about the future of minor league baseball in Augusta.

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Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. was applauded as the guest speaker at the 19th annual Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports banquet at Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites. Before the event, he addressed Augusta's stadium issue. 
  Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. was applauded as the guest speaker at the 19th annual Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports banquet at Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites. Before the event, he addressed Augusta's stadium issue.

The Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, whose Ripken Baseball Group owns the Augusta GreenJackets, re-emphasized his commitment to keeping the team in the Augusta market, but fielding it at Lake Olmstead Stadium isn't in his plans.

"Being downtown plays an important role in having hundreds of thousands of people downtown, which translates into businesses and life down in the city," he said before the Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports awards banquet. "If that weren't to happen, we'd look to alternative sites (within Augusta). We love the Augusta market. It's got such great potential."

Ripken's organization has had its eye on 16 acres of state-owned, riverfront property as the potential site for a multi-use facility with a new GreenJackets stadium. Original plans called for the city to acquire the land from the state, then work on a public-private venture to develop it.

Now the land, once home to the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, will go on the auction block after Gov. Sonny Perdue signs legislation passed two weeks ago that dissolves the hall.

"We definitely are encouraged by the progress," Ripken said. "It certainly hasn't gone exactly the way we had planned it, but stadium issues are complex."

The Jacoby Group, a development company working with the Ripken group, said it will bid on the land.

Jeff Eiseman, Ripken Baseball Group's vice president of baseball, said Augusta's role in a public-private venture remains unclear.

"We have not had formal conversations with the city," Eiseman said. "But in regards to the land being private, that hasn't really affected (our plans). We're glad it's gotten to this stage."

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sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 05/12/10 - 01:43 am
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Go for it Cal! Build it

Go for it Cal! Build it Downtown!

Trey Enfantay
9
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Trey Enfantay 05/12/10 - 03:42 am
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Okay, make a note in your

Okay, make a note in your calendars - this doesn't happen often.

I agree with sigraci.

blkmktgreg
5
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blkmktgreg 05/12/10 - 04:35 am
0
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I don't believe that the

I don't believe that the Green Jackets Organization can maintain a stadium without a large infusion of tax dollars. Currently, they cannot even keep an electronic scoreboard running.

reader54
329
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reader54 05/12/10 - 05:00 am
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Did he say, "hundreds of

Did he say, "hundreds of thousands downtown"? I had to reread that twice. If he believes that, then the ole boy has been hit with one too many pitches.

Trey Enfantay
9
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Trey Enfantay 05/12/10 - 05:13 am
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reader54 - Over the course of

reader54 - Over the course of a season or a few seasons, I believe that number estimate is accurate.

gransom
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gransom 05/12/10 - 05:16 am
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"...the Augusta market. It's

"...the Augusta market. It's got such great potential."
These guys only see $. They'll let Augusta keep their Single A ball team, if it moves out of Olmstead? Nice of Cal to stop by.

Whyisit01
2
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Whyisit01 05/12/10 - 05:55 am
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Augusta do not need a stadium

Augusta do not need a stadium downtown. The Chronicle needs to chronicle every home game by providing EVIDENCE and PROOF from pics and video of the crowd. This way maybe it would justify a stadium is needed for the FANS who support the Greenjackets. When doing so, they need to make sure it's not a THEMED game as those are specifically played to draw people to the stadium for that cause. If he wants a stadium let him build it with his own money, I know before it's over he's going to be asking to name it Cal Ripken Stadium.

Southern_Patriot
0
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Southern_Patriot 05/12/10 - 05:54 am
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Marion Williams will be

Marion Williams will be running for county council again so much for a downtown stadium or anything else!

Little Lamb
49329
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Little Lamb 05/12/10 - 06:46 am
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Let private interests build

Let private interests build whatever they want on the property of the walled fortress. Just don't spend any tax money on it.

proud2bamerican
441
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proud2bamerican 05/12/10 - 07:08 am
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I agree with Little Lamb -

I agree with Little Lamb - let private interest build and improve on anything that could be beneficial, but keep the tax dollars with us. All in all, I am still VERY concerned and disappointed that we cannot better manage what we already have i.e. the overall appearance of Augusta, especially during Masters when the entire world is here. If you want to talk about growing our city and bringing in revenue, then we need to seriously consider the opportunities we miss every year by not doing more to make a good first impression on the 1000's of people walking and driving through our city. In many well traveled areas the medians and curbs are waist high with weeds and overgrowth. The mangled web of power lines and signage on Washington Road looks like something out of a third world country trying to get started, just to name a couple of areas that we are sorely neglecting, where visitors travel is concentrated. I have been in other cities that host major tournaments, and this is NOT what I see. I say we take care of what we have and take hold of the missed opportunities we have passed up each year during Masters, to grow our city and not expect a baseball stadium or other 'facility' to do it for us.

Nat the Cat
1
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Nat the Cat 05/12/10 - 07:32 am
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I smell a big fat rat!

I smell a big fat rat!

lsmith
105
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lsmith 05/12/10 - 08:03 am
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Hey Taxpayers! Guess who's
Unpublished

Hey Taxpayers! Guess who's coming to dinner, Ripkin Baseball. You can be sure that Ripkin Baseball will be knockin' at the taxpayers bank accounts to fund this project for them. It's sick, it's wasteful and it's disgusting. Does anyone really beleive this project would have any legs at all if Cal Ripkin's name wasn't attached to it. Perhaps if the mayor feels so strongly about this project he should get his family to fund it. If this is so important for downtown commerce, why not submit this project to the voters for approval such as was done with the Tee Center? We already have an almost new stadium. Find a unique use for this property, or better yet keep it GREEN!!!

PhiloPublius
386
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PhiloPublius 05/12/10 - 09:11 am
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"...or better yet keep it

"...or better yet keep it GREEN!!!"

Last I checked, abandoned buildings are not green... I guess maybe the weeds are green?

bootscoot_mommy
0
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bootscoot_mommy 05/12/10 - 09:35 am
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Please build it downtown!

Please build it downtown! Originally from Chattanooga, TN....the downtown area looked similiar until we built a downtown stadium on the river. Not it's a desitination.

Whyisit, you don't make much sense. Please stop posting....for all of us.

coco rubio
53
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coco rubio 05/12/10 - 10:18 am
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anyone who says we don't need

anyone who says we don't need a new downtown stadium because the lake olmstead stadium is never full is sadly missing the whole point..... maybe it's current location has something to do with the small crowds.... trust me when i say a new downtown location would do wonders to the crowds at the ball park and will also give a major boost to the downtown atmosphere and will improve the quality of life for all in the CSRA......i think a compromise can be worked out between ripken & the city.....where it's a win win for everybody involved!

lsmith
105
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lsmith 05/12/10 - 10:25 am
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Hey, more people downtown for
Unpublished

Hey, more people downtown for ball games would certainly help the bar owners down there wouldn''t it. I have a question as to why some people (particularly the bar owners) think every single official function in this city has to be done on Broad Street, The commons or along the River. There are bars and restaurants elsewhere that could utilize this so called "boost", if it such. Spread the wealth around. Stop treating Lake Olmstead stadium like it's the red heade step child.

bootscoot_mommy
0
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bootscoot_mommy 05/12/10 - 10:34 am
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Coco...have you been to a

Coco...have you been to a game on a Friday or Saturday night this season? If I wasn't a season seat holder, I most likely wouldn't have even gotten a seat. I love Lake Olmstead, but again...have seen change happen to a downtown with my own eyes because of a multi-use stadium...I agree with you, it would be an economic engine for Augusta.

Little Lamb
49329
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Little Lamb 05/12/10 - 10:50 am
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How many home games does a

How many home games does a minor league team play? 60 or 70? Throw in a couple of country music concerts and that leaves about 300 nights a year that the baseball stadium would be sitting dark and cold. I'd say that luxury housing (or at least “upper-scale”) with maybe a small bodega would be a better use for that land.

1776
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1776 05/12/10 - 11:06 am
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If he wants to foot the

If he wants to foot the bill...then go for it. But, the taxpayers should not have to pay to build a stadium that will provide income for Ripken Baseball. Furthermore, didn't the Augusta taxpayers contribute to the initial investment for the property? If so, then the taxpayers got shafted if the state sells the land to Ripken without giving some of the money back to Augusta.

countyman
21702
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countyman 05/12/10 - 11:10 am
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Little Lamb.... The mix use

Little Lamb....

The mix use portion includes...........
Private-sector development of areas that could include up to 80,000 SF of office space, a 150-room limited service hotel property, up to 60 condominium properties and parking for up to 500 cars.

The Baseball Stadium includes...........
At ground level, retail shell space facing Reynolds Street has a small parking area available off 11th Street, and additional retail areas along 12th Street have street parking available. The Golf Hall of Fame may occupy one of these outlets, or may be part of the private-sector component across 12th Street extension, opening to a plaza that reaches The Botanical Gardens entry. Behind these retail areas would be team support spaces, opening to the field as well as meeting spaces open to the plaza. Proposed at the end of the new 12th Street on the stadium side is a themed restaurant, located at the spectator concourse level above the street, approximately in line with the Riverwalk. This restaurant would be open year round, with access from the 12th Street cul-de-sac below via stair and elevator and from the Riverwalk. On the concourse, a variety of terrace and plaza areas would support year-round events and gatherings and be usable on baseball game days.

It's a baseball stadium within a mix-use development... Jim Jacoby is on board with the plans for downtown....

baronvonreich
1
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baronvonreich 05/12/10 - 11:56 am
0
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Let Ripken Baseball or the

Let Ripken Baseball or the Jacoby Group buy the land and build a baseball stadium if they choose. Just don't come hat in hand to the taxpayer and expect us to fund it.

countyman - none of what you described requires government/taxpayer involvement nor should it.

lsmith
105
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lsmith 05/12/10 - 12:11 pm
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countyman: Looks like the
Unpublished

countyman: Looks like the Jacoby group has a nicely thought out multi-use plan for this property. I'm assuming their interest is to make money. They feel like it would be profitable, so let'm pay for it. If they got 2.5 million to bid on the property then certainly they can get the remainder financed for such a sure fire winner. No plans for financing? Well, I don't see where this should be a taxpayer supported project that benefits, Jacoby Group, Ripkin Baseball and all the other businesses they're planning on bringing on board to buy condos, rent offices etc etc.
But if the taxpayers are willing to express support through a vote/referendum such as was done with the Tee Center, I'd jump right on board with them.

Little Lamb
49329
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Little Lamb 05/12/10 - 12:25 pm
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1776 was correct when he

1776 was correct when he said:

. . . then the taxpayers got shafted . . .

But what else is new?

coco rubio
53
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coco rubio 05/12/10 - 12:30 pm
0
0
most cities would love to

most cities would love to have a problem like this.... i think the idea is that a multi-use stadium like this would benefit augusta & richmond county.....i think a well laid out plan would win support in a vote.....except from the chronicle and some folks from columbia county or north augusta (who wouldn't be able to vote anyway)..... let's play ball!

tckr1983
365
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tckr1983 05/12/10 - 12:58 pm
0
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Lake Olmstead stadium is no

Lake Olmstead stadium is no longer a "new stadium" as someone stated earlier... it's 15 years old and working on its second decade. Yes, it is an appealing stadium for a single a ballclub. A "throw-back" appearance to what stadiums used to look like 50 or 60 years ago with ornamental iron work on the facade and covered grandstands. But, like everything else... location, location, location. The stadium downtown would provide much more draw to the game and the DOWNTOWN area. This is the problem with Augusta, the small town mentality takes precedent for some reason when compared to the OVERALL PICTURE.

The taxpayers, if asked to foot SOME of the tab... would more than make up for it through tax money earned through local businesses downtown. Where are the people going to go after the game on the river? Restaurants, bars and other events downtown. Quit whining about everyone wanting their hand in the cookie jar and get the thing built... just like Greenville, Greensboro, Rome and a few others did to join the other cities in the 21st century.

And yes... over the past few years the Greenjackets have drawn right around 200,000 fans per year, actually going over 200,000 in 2008 for a franchise record. That's "hundreds of thousands" downtown... $$$! Not bad for a ballclub currently with the 6th best attendance/game this season, while playing in the 3rd smallest stadium of the SAL league.

The tax payers got shafted in the Golf and Gardens huh? Well, lets just get all the taxpayers in America to demand their money back for anything that has never worked out... You can't compare the potential of the poorly thought out Golf and Gardens to a multi-use facility that will house: minor-league baseball stadium, office space, residential space, retail as well as a large hotel on site. That's just silly. People will be all over the Reynolds Street property constantly, not just the weeds, as it sits now.

This wouldn't be JUST a baseball stadium... look up the term "multi-use". My apologies if this comes across harsh to some... but other cities would LOVE to have this "problem".

confederate american
0
Points
confederate american 05/12/10 - 12:59 pm
0
0
I just left n.augusta after

I just left n.augusta after riding around for awhile,these people really have it going on over there.looks like a vacation spot,and then i cross back over the river and drive down broad st how sad.And all our mayor wants is a ball park,just another lame duck and a waste of money.Reynolds st is nice and it could become a great thing but they want to waste it on a park.

tckr1983
365
Points
tckr1983 05/12/10 - 01:10 pm
0
0
Reynolds street will never

Reynolds street will never look like the North Augusta side of the river... hate to break it to you. It's downtown, having houses on the Augusta side of the river would be a waste... the money produced in taxes from either of the two current plans for the Reynolds Street propery would DWARF any potential return from a few houses on the water.

The 300 acre developement on the river a few miles south of the city is fine... it's a large enough developement with plenty of space to be built on. Reynolds Street property is 17 acres... not room for enough houses to make a return, not enough space. This is why developements in downtown areas build up, not out!

baronvonreich
1
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baronvonreich 05/12/10 - 01:10 pm
0
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It isn't like Lake Olmstead

It isn't like Lake Olmstead is some type journey from downtown. Only a 2 or 3 mile drive is stopping the patrons from going out to bars and restaurants before/after baseball games. If people aren't patronizing those establishments now on gamenights, it isn't likey they will if the stadium is on the river.

tckr1983
365
Points
tckr1983 05/12/10 - 01:30 pm
0
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It isn't downtown though is

It isn't downtown though is it? You can't compare restaurants/shops you can WALK to before/after a game and something you have to go out of your way and drive to. Yes, ALOT of people come from the West end of town to the games and would rather eat along the way home than go downtown and make their journey home after. They would already be downtown... And you don't have to take my word for it... talk to Greenville and Greensboro and others that have built downtown stadiums. It's worked.

tckr1983
365
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tckr1983 05/12/10 - 01:50 pm
0
0
I'm just saying... what else

I'm just saying... what else can be put on the property that we already dont have? Another retirement complex? Another city park (waste)? Some houses? There's not much else... If anyone has been to Chattanooga, driven down Riverfront Parkway... tell me that isn't a draw with the stadium on the river in the middle of downtown... kinda funny, their outfield fence backs up to the river AND Chattanooga's riverwalk... which is what would be extended here in Augusta should the stadium be built.

People want to complain about money... how about the 70M dollar judicial center we're building. Look impressive to you for 70M dollars? It's a four story, brick structure... man, these paper clips are expensive!

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