PLAY BALL: City Council passes Bull Street ballpark plan - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

PLAY BALL: City Council passes Bull Street ballpark plan

Mayor Steve Benjamin joined council members Cameron Runyan, Sam Davis, and Brian DeQuincey Newman in voting for the plan. Mayor Steve Benjamin joined council members Cameron Runyan, Sam Davis, and Brian DeQuincey Newman in voting for the plan.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

After months of discussion, Columbia City Council has voted in favor of plan to build a ballpark at the site of the old state Mental Health Hospital on Bull Street.

The 4-3 vote came late Tuesday night following hours of discussion between council members and members of the public.

Mayor Steve Benjamin joined council members Cameron Runyan, Sam Davis, and Brian DeQuincey Newman in voting for the plan while Moe Baddourah, Leona Plaugh, and Tameika Isaac Devine voted against it.

The vote allows City Manager Teresa Wilson to execute an agreement between the city and Hardball Capital, the company who will manage the team.

Benjamin painted the vote as a win for the city and said even if certain development benchmarks aren't met, the city's liability is limited.

"So if things don't happen on Bull Street, our overall infrastructure obligation is $25 million and we have a stadium that we own that minor league baseball is always required to have a team playing in," said Benjamin. "That's a good thing."

Councilwoman Devine said she still has her concerns about the plan.

"I was glad to hear that potentially we will be looking at somebody privately funding the parking which will decrease our commitment by $24 million," said Devine. "So certainly it's not the way I wanted it to go, but it's the way I expected it."

Now the question becomes which team will be coming to Columbia? At last check, the city was getting interest from a minor league team in Savannah, Georgia.

However, Benjamin says that team is unlikely to start play until at least 2016 since the ballpark still has to be built.

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