Ballpark figures

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Mayor Deke Copenhaver and the Ripken Baseball family are convinced that if they build a riverfront baseball stadium downtown, nothing but good things will come for the city of Augusta. On Tuesday, Mr. Copenhaver and Bill Ripken announced that a Downtown Stadium Exploratory Committee will study the feasibility of a ballpark on the Savannah River between 11th and 13th streets.

An empty grassy area (left) is the proposed site for a new downtown baseball stadium.  Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
An empty grassy area (left) is the proposed site for a new downtown baseball stadium.

$20 million

The stadium's estimated cost, which likely would be paid for through a public-private partnership. Augusta commissioners would have to call for a referendum to issue bonds, and "ultimately, the people will decide," likely through a referendum, Mr. Copenhaver said.

"We're happy to let the people decide, because we think this is a project that will be supported by everyone," Mr. Copenhaver said.

6,000

Number of people the proposed park would seat. Currently, the Class A GreenJackets play in 12-year-old Lake Olmstead Stadium. It is the third-smallest park in the 16-team South Atlantic League, with a capacity of 4,322.

The current stadium could see increased use by area colleges and use from interested charities such as the Salvation Army's Kroc Center and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.

4,000

Available parking spaces within a 12-minute walk from the site on Reynolds Street, according to Mr. Copenhaver.

17

Exploratory committee members. The panel will visit Durham and Greensboro, N.C., and Greenville, S.C.

The study could be finished by August.

- Steve Sanders, staff writer

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m23866
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m23866 04/11/07 - 07:01 am
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sounds like a good excuse for

sounds like a good excuse for the comitee to party out of town on tax payer expenses ( of course) my opinion the current location is juuuuust fine where it is, is kinda scary what the augusta commision might be thinking ( like maybe this park can take forever to build get the hint)

writerrick
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writerrick 04/11/07 - 08:00 am
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Hmmm let's see we need a new

Hmmm let's see we need a new stadium so we can seat 2000 more patrons. The old stadium maybe has sold out a half a dozen times in 12 years and averages way under half capacity in attendance. Maybe we should spend the 20 million on much needed basic city services!

HillGuy
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HillGuy 04/11/07 - 09:27 am
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This is the typical Augusta

This is the typical Augusta attitude.. and the reason why this city never moves forward.

GetReal1
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GetReal1 04/11/07 - 10:03 am
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In the electronic media I've

In the electronic media I've heard the same old cry of woe from
downtown business people...that they 'need' the stadium to
boost 'downtown'. Seems to me these same business folks, after
all this time, need to start looking at their own methods of
conducting business and not dipping their hand into taxpayers
pockets. 'First Friday" was well on it's way to being a major
attraction, once some of the kinks were worked out...but the
business people thought it 'low class'. But how many times a week are families with young children going to enter high price art galleries and jewelery stores? But sidewalk vendors and
reasonable bands, plus streets blocked to car and motorcycle
traffic is another story. A place that celebrates arts and crafts in
action is always a draw where ever offered...as other towns have
long ago discovered.I suppose it all boils down to being weary
of the weeping downtown business owners.

PACKINGHEAT
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PACKINGHEAT 04/11/07 - 10:05 am
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Anyone who thinks we would

Anyone who thinks we would make a 12 minute walk through that area after dark obviously is delusional.

booktavern
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booktavern 04/11/07 - 10:37 am
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HillGuy is right. His lack of

HillGuy is right. His lack of vision for the City of Augusta is the typical Augustan attitude which is why this city cannot move forward. Building bigger and better sports and entertainment venues are all part of the infrastructure improvements a growing city needs to attract businesses that provide jobs for members of the community.

lovingthesouth72
1368
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lovingthesouth72 04/11/07 - 10:38 am
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Really, I do not see the need

Really, I do not see the need for another stadium ...

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 04/11/07 - 11:22 am
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This is the spot where the

This is the spot where the stadium should have been built 12 years ago. If I remember correctly, some prominent folks in Augusta did not want the ball park there so they could build the GGHF and Gardens. So instead, they rebuilt the stadium at Lake Olmstead where there are no surrounding businesses that would directly benefit and placed the rarely visited Gardens in a high traffic area to the benefit of noone. Pretty short sighted. Golf is great and has done a lot for this town but the Gardens could have been put elsewhere in the city and that property used for a greater attraction like a baseball stadium. Like all thriving cities, the sports and entertainment complexes are built in the heart of the city. They are centrally located to all residents. That should be no different in Augusta. The folks in East Augusta like and deserve baseball as much as those in the gated communities in West Augusta. With it located a little closer to them and those in North and South Augusta, it may be easier for more people to attend games. The new ballpark would certainly be in a more visible location and that alone would attract more fans. Build it Downtown and then build a new JB Arena!

Captain Awesome
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Captain Awesome 04/11/07 - 11:33 am
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Yeah, it sounds like the real

Yeah, it sounds like the real reason for building the stadium is to have it in a different spot, not make it bigger. I would like to see more concerts being held at the Lake Olmstead stadium.

mnwilliams111
0
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mnwilliams111 04/11/07 - 12:08 pm
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Personally, I would prefer

Personally, I would prefer the stadium move....something about late night games in the ghetto really kept me from there....and scream all you want, I was born and raised there and worked to get away from there. Like First Friday, people have to look outside the box.

GuyIncognito
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GuyIncognito 04/11/07 - 12:25 pm
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Its about a 4 mile difference

Its about a 4 mile difference between the two stadiums. Its not like the stadium isn't centrally located now. In fact, it is currently closer to most of the Columbia County fan base of the Green Jackets. Why not build the new stadium in Evans where people won't be afraid to go to a night game?

jdcooper
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jdcooper 04/11/07 - 12:33 pm
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Because it's the AUGUSTA

Because it's the AUGUSTA Green Jackets, not the Evans Green Jackets. Perhaps more people would go to the games when there are restaraunts and night life within walking distance to the park. I think it may actually be a good idea.

concernednative
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concernednative 04/11/07 - 01:00 pm
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People look at any city and

People look at any city and you will see why Augusta is twenty years behind. You think in Charlotte, Greenville, Columbia, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Greensboro, I can go on on they waited to every game was a sell out before they built a new stadium. I know Atlanta is a totally different monster the Hawks, Braves, and Falcons all had horible attendance. However, the built the Dome and Phillips Arena. It is the cost of growth and development. You have to have the facilities first especially when all other surrounding towns can offer them. You can't tell and artist or team to perform at the old run down stadium or arena so we can get a new one. They will just go to the new one. It is simply business sense to build the new stadium.

alr55
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alr55 04/11/07 - 01:20 pm
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Why would wwe build the

Why would wwe build the "AUGUSTA" Green Jackets Stadium in Evans?????? Why would anyone be scared to go to the games in Augusta???? If your that scared maybe you should start your own team in Evans.

ajk1
3
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ajk1 04/11/07 - 01:29 pm
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I can't seem to do the math.

I can't seem to do the math. A 6,000 seat Baseball area, and 4,000 parking places. That means 2,000 people need to take a friend to the game. I noticed that when I come to FIrst Friday I usually have to walk for blocks after I find a place to park. So 2,000 cars will have to park somewhere within the city streets and walk over. Gee, I didn't think there was 2,000 parking places in the entire city.
ajk

expoking
0
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expoking 04/11/07 - 01:43 pm
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The site should be used for a

The site should be used for a convention center as apposed to a ballpark. Greater economic benefits as well as events for the local population.

richard.iveson
0
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richard.iveson 04/11/07 - 01:51 pm
0
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Instead of new stadium, why

Instead of new stadium, why not a refurbished stadium. Just add an additional section onto the Olmsted Field for a fraction of the cost.

jleyes
24
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jleyes 04/11/07 - 01:57 pm
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Augusta has an opportunity to

Augusta has an opportunity to drive 300,000-400,000 people downtown ANNUALLY and create a real spark and social enviroment befitting of everyone in the community. The current facility is not centrally located and the proposed site couldn't be more convenient to everyone. This is our CITY CENTER folks, don't we care enough to breath real life into it? This ballpark initiative would be the perfect catalyst for many great things to happen in the downtown or we can remain with a stagnant downtown because of a real lack of vision. A healthy downtown Augusta makes the whole region stronger.

In addition concernednative is SO RIGHT, don't penalize the GreenJackets for not selling out a very modest ballpark built on the cheap. Greenville had the Braves AA team playing in an obsolute facility (that was better then Lake Olmstead) they lost that AA team and replaced them with a A team now playing in a beautiful downtown stadium. The net result? Baseball has never been more popular in Greenville and the ballpark is a major linchpin for development of the West End of Greenville.

Mayor Deke gets it and judging by his margin of victory most of the voters get it too. PLAY BALL AUGUSTA

andy112382
3
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andy112382 04/11/07 - 03:35 pm
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This is a great idea. Those

This is a great idea. Those already moaning about it fit the saying that I heard that puts it best, Augusta is a big city with a small town attitude/mindset. Look, you have to spend money to make money, period. Something needs to be done downtown and this, hopefully, would be just the begining. Otherwise, Richmond county and downtown are going nowhere while North Augusta, Martinez, Evans, Grovetown, etc boom and become the flagship counties with a rotten core. It's called forcasting, look down the road and realize we need to stop spinning our wheels in one spot and actually need to make some progress around here!

gabe11
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gabe11 04/11/07 - 03:41 pm
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20 mill on this what about

20 mill on this what about HYDE PARK!!!!!!!!

foolsarah
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foolsarah 04/11/07 - 05:17 pm
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As a long time Greenjackets

As a long time Greenjackets fan, season ticket holder, I find a new stadium and interesting proposition. But, my husband is disabled so a long walk would mean no tickets for us. If they can't build enough parking for the seating capacity at a new stadium, then why bother spending 20 M for an empty facility?

My $.02 from an Aikenite who loves baseball.

m23866
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m23866 04/11/07 - 05:39 pm
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i live in atlanta and before

i live in atlanta and before i moved i lived in augusta for 25 yrs,when i go to augusta ( thru river watch parkway) i noticed close by the mills theres 4 maybe 5 diamond shape baseball parks i believe the road is magnolia dr,anywho that would be a excellent place spacious and the city can provide shuttle service from 15th and broad at a reduce price,,thanks

HillGuy
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HillGuy 04/11/07 - 05:48 pm
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First of all they should

First of all they should forget about preserving the gardens.. we have gardens at Riverwalk.. use the extra space for parking.. there is plenty of space there to provide all of the necessary parking. The stadium should have been built there in the first place.. Heaton stadium was supposed to be a temporary stadum to get a team in Augusta. Augusta almost lost its team because Heaton did not meet the standards of minor league baseball. That was the perfect time to build a new stadium in downtown.. but instead the typical apathetic Augusta attitude won the day and they simply "refurbished" Heaton into Lake Olmstead Stadium. Lake Olmstead stadium is one of the smallest minor league parks in the country. Tiny Aberdeen, MD has a larger ballpak than Augusta ( That also happens to be a team that Cal Ripken owns.) Ripken baseball has shown a committment to Augusta to develop first class baseball here. But a warning to Ripken.. Welcome to the world of apathy that is Augusta.. welcome to Augusta.. where small minds keep thinking small and then complain because the city has only excitement for one week a year. The people of Augusta deserve what they get.

m23866
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m23866 04/11/07 - 05:48 pm
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ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh by

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh by the way 20 million? you know maybe the city of augusta and the city of atlanta can get together and plan a monorail that conects atlanta-augusta and maybe just maybe augusta will come out of the dark ages,what augusta have to offer for nightlife..... bars,movies,bars,skating ring (about 100 yrs old),bars,,oh did i mention bars?

cosleia
0
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cosleia 04/11/07 - 06:50 pm
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I'm all for having a baseball

I'm all for having a baseball stadium downtown, but I don't think the proposed site is best. There isn't room for parking, period. Even if we did bulldoze the gardens--which I believe would be a mistake--the stadium is not going to be bigger than Olmstead. Compare the sizes using Google Maps. The outfield is actually smaller in the proposed design. There is no room there for expansion because the river's on one side and Reynolds Street's on the other. And would we really want to use riverfront property for a parking deck?

I posted on the other story that I would prefer that the gardens be privatized/opened to the public, the land there be built up with businesses/shops/restaurants/office buildings that match the historic downtown feel, and the Riverwalk extended to the gardens. Keep the riverfront beautiful!

thomdavies
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thomdavies 04/11/07 - 08:54 pm
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I live right there so I would

I live right there so I would love to be able to watch the games from my balcony. Or if the prices are right you might have the downtowners walking the three blocks.

uga1
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uga1 04/12/07 - 12:15 am
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Downtown is definitely the

Downtown is definitely the way to go with the new stadium. It is time for the city of Augusta to move forward. There are 500,000+ people in the Metro Augusta Area. A downtown stadium will only BENEFIT Augusta. Businesses will thrive off a park downtown. However, the parking issue does need to be resolved. Underground parking? Build garage? The Lake Olmsted Park is too secluded and in the projects. A new entertainment arena and convention center are crucial to development as well. To the naysayers of every proposal for development: You are only hurting the City of Augusta. It is time Augusta to be revitalized. When someone wants to finally invest in this city, you shoot down every proposal. We are an international destination only one week a year. This city has great potential to become more than that. It is time to stop living in the past and move forward.
To GUYINCOGNITO: Build an Evans stadium...?? Who puts a baseball stadium in the suburbs?
To LHSFACULTY: I assume you teach at Lakeside? If tax dollars are used for this project, they would come from RC not CC. Then how would using that tax money to pay teachers affect you?
--Columbia County Resident

tmoney316
3
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tmoney316 04/12/07 - 12:38 am
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I think Augusta & the Ripken

I think Augusta & the Ripken owner group just need to add on to the one at Lake Olmstead because either way PEOPLE in AUGUSTA don't support anything in the arena or at the stadium it would be a WASTE of MONEY so everyone vote against it when it is time to vote.

iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 04/12/07 - 01:31 am
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Why is it Augusta's concept

Why is it Augusta's concept of being a quality place to live always has to involve a sporting event? Is that all we can manage? When you think of traveling somewhere nice,do you immediately think of a ball stadium? Why not have something that has year round possibilities,and heaven forbid, actually build something that has some architectural significance.

Pinchgut
2
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Pinchgut 04/12/07 - 02:05 am
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I am rabid baseball fan and

I am rabid baseball fan and have been a season ticket holder for many years and after I've worked all day I don't want to take a 12 minute walk to the stadium? I say you need to plan the parking before you plan the stadium. Then figure out what you're going to do about the all the thugs and urban outdoorsman that are hanging around downtown.
GO JACKETS!

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