In the 1989 film "Field of Dreams," Kevin Costner hears a voice say, "If you build it, he will come." Only one problem. Costner's character, Ray Kinsella, is an Iowa farmer, and he wants to build a baseball field in the middle of a cornfield. It was pure fantasy and fun.
Tuesday, B&D Venues, the company hired to do a minor league baseball feasibility study for the Macon-Bibb County Commission, returned with its findings. It is no surprise the study came back positive and estimated that a Class A team along with other events at the stadium could attract 250,000 to 300,000 people annually and generate $171 million in economic activity and $176 million in wages over a 30 year period. While we have no doubt that B&D Venues has all confidence in its estimates because of its long list of successful projects, we also know that estimates are just guesstimates.
The stadium would cost about $38 million and the price tag does not include land acquisition or off-site infrastructure. That's a heavy pill to swallow with about 80 percent of the cost coming from taxpayers. Some commissioners, however, were taken aback, understandably, to find the study only looked at downtown locations. That could be partly the fault of the administrations and B&D Venues. They don't have a history of recommending stadiums outside of downtown or urban areas.
Before making up our minds, let's complete the process. There is a long road to travel before a project of this magnitude can be decided one way or another. Even Shoeless Joe Jackson would have to think about this one a spell.