Thursday, March 22, 2012

A-Braves single-A to NC ???

We have our own version of March madness at the DBAP as we prepare for Opening Night, April 5th. Home clubhouse renovations. A major paint job. Expansion of the Ballpark Corner Store. Site work has begun for the Diamond View III office building in left field. And that’s not the complete list by any means. Yes, it’s madness!

…so it was good to take a break last week and reflect on the past two decades of progress since our Durham ballpark was conceived. The occasion was a visit by Wilmington officials.

The Atlanta Braves have offered to move their single-A team from Lynchburg VA to NC’s Port City as the community ponders construction of a ballpark on the Cape Fear River.

Our mayor, Bill Bell, invited Wilmington’s mayor for a tour of the DBAP and American Tobacco's campus. We’ve become an enviable example of downtown revival ignited by construction of a Minor League ballpark.

In the last decade local government has invested about $300 million in parking decks, street improvements and other downtown infrastructure, and that has seeded $900 million in private investment. Pretty good ROI! Downtown Durham has come alive, and it began with baseball.

In retrospect, it has been downright brilliant, but it wasn’t without risk and controversy. Wilmington is beginning its due diligence...

Wilmington media coverage of the Durham visit: WECT TV and WWAY TV; StarNews newspaper story.