The mayor got his $50,000 wish for a feasibility study to see if a new stadium to house a minor league baseball team would work in the city — and would it work across the street from the Centreplex. We know Luther Williams Field has been mentioned, but to bring it up to standards would destroy its historic nature. The firm the mayor has contracted to do the work, Brailsford & Dunlavey, has all sorts of experience — and not just in minor league baseball. B&D was the firm the Atlanta Braves hired to seek answers to what the team should do when its lease at Turner Field expired, and it was the company Cobb County employed to see if a new Braves stadium could work in their community. We all know the answer to that now. The new stadium in Cobb will open in 2017.
The company also doesn’t limit itself to baseball studies but ventures out to hockey and basketball as well. What will they tell us about our community that we don’t already know?
The minor league history of the city is littered with failed minor league franchises. Some crashed and burned because of external forces while others died from internal combustion.
While this study may not say minor league baseball will be successful here, there is a good chance it will tell us what has a good chance of succeeding and it will give our business and development recruiters another tool from a nationally recognized firm that will allow them to attract something other than a minor league team, possibly a major league employer.
Just as in other communities where minor league baseball has taken hold and development has sprung up around the stadiums, baseball is just the lure that allows an area to hook businesses and developers into making an investment into a community. While it’s not about baseball, it is about jobs and economic development.