The following Perspective is an expression of opinion by the Editorial Board at WIS and presented by General Manager Donita Todd:
They say baseball is America's favorite pastime. In Columbia, it's also being touted as the lynchpin to the Bull Street redevelopment plan's success.
A minor league baseball team owner has come forward with a promise to bring a team to Columbia if a new ballpark is part of the plan for the Bull Street project. How the developer, city and ball team owner propose to pay for this new stadium is anyone's guess. Taxpayers still don't know how the $50 million worth of infrastructure costs the city committed to the redevelopment will be funded, and now city council is considering a potential $35-42 million investment in a baseball stadium.
The ballpark now appears to be a crucial element of the Bull Street project -- an anchor piece according to the developer and the ball team owner. Without it, the project will not have the same magnitude, nor will it promise the big public draw, retail success and tax revenues that hang in the balance for this redevelopment. Much to-do has been made about how much money a minor league park could generate over the next few decades, but taxpayers have heard very little about how the city plans to pay for all this.
Before any further financial commitments are made, it's time for Columbia city management to lay out a plan for funding both the Bull Street infrastructure and any additional development such as a ballpark. That's my perspective. What's yours?
Write to Perspective at P.O. Box 367, Columbia, SC 29202, or send an email.
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