Expert coming to see proposal

Former Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, regarded as a pioneer in "smart growth" land planning, will be in Augusta on Tuesday to look at the Garden City's proposed downtown stadium project.

The visit was initiated by regional business leader Bettis Rainsford, who mentioned the project to Mr. Glendening earlier this year.

"He was very interested about (the stadium project) because he has seen areas where stadiums have had tremendous impact on the downtown areas," Mr. Rainsford said.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver and baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr., part of the group that owns the Augusta GreenJackets baseball team, are urging construction of a baseball stadium on Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property along the Savannah River.

The proposal is in preliminary stages.

The mayor's executive assistant, Karyn Nixon, said the 17-acre tract is held by the state property commission and that a feasibility study has yet to be undertaken.

The proposed stadium, which could serve many uses, would seat 5,000 to 6,000 people and cost about $20 million to $25 million.

It would be funded through a private-public venture with Ripken Baseball, and Richmond County voters ultimately would have the final say.

The GreenJackets, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, currently play in 12-year-old Lake Olmstead Stadium off Milledge Road.

Whether the project moves forward would largely depend on the outcome of such a study, Ms. Nixon said.

Augusta businessman Clay Boardman said he hopes to raise $75,000 in private contributions to finance the feasibility study.

Mr. Glendening, the president of the Washington-based Smart Growth Leadership Institute, said in a phone interview that similar projects, such as the Camden Yards stadium constructed in downtown Baltimore while he was governor, have bolstered the housing, retail and hospitality industries.

"We just thought there was the potential for more than just a stadium," Mr. Glendening said. "If there is potential there, we hope to pull it together, and I think there is potential here."

Mr. Glendening is currently working on a resort project in Savannah, Ga., that will feature 900 resort homes on 100 acres of land.

On the net

For more information on the downtown stadium project, visit www.bringbaseballdown town.com.