As the cold weather of March fades away, signs of spring are apparent already in the first few days of April.Temperatures outside are rising, trees are budding and flowering in vibrant colors and sunlight lingers on a little longer as each day passes. But there’s something on the minds of sports fans that’s highly anticipated with spring’s arrival: baseball season.
The Phillies had their opening day recently, and WCU’s own Golden Rams have been in their regular season since late February.
However, the Chester County Stadium Project, with the assistance of the Chester County Economic Development Council, is attempting to bring the excitement of professional baseball to Chester County. Plans are currently in development to construct a minor league baseball stadium at a location in Chester County.
According to a recent press release from the Chester County Economic Development Council, “An interested group of civic, business and sports professionals led by West Chester Mayor Dick Yoder has been meeting since the beginning of the year at the Economic Development Council. A number of elected officials have also joined in the discussion.”
Tom McIntyre, director of Government and Municipal Services of the Chester County Economic Development Council, predicts that Chester County would benefit greatly from the new baseball stadium.
“A conveniently located, 4,000 to 5,000 seat stadium in Chester County would be a family friendly entertainment option and an opportunity to see developing players, some of whom might have local roots,” McIntyre said. “Minor-league ticket prices are affordable, and direct marketing ticket sales efforts would reach out to many, many businesses and community groups.”
Possible utilizations of the stadium include hosting other sporting events, community displays, a sports hall of fame, museums, concerts and internships.
Although the planning committees are very optimistic about the possibilities of hosting a minor league baseball team in Chester County, specific details about the stadium’s location and construction timeline have yet to be determined. The stadium’s planning is in its early stages.
The committees are focusingon the stadium’s impact; they are currently raising funds to conduct a scope analysis of the stadium project’s feasibility.
According to a recent press release, the information that will be gathered in the study examines issues such as location, zoning, and community support. The study will also cost approximately $75,000. McIntyre stated that if the feasibility study determines the stadium to be an attainable project, the specific location of the sports venue will then be determined. The stadium’s location could be “anywhere in Chester County,” he said.
The projected time frame of the stadium is also dependent on the results of the feasibility study. A two to three year time period may be necessary in order to fit in the aforementioned planning details plus construction. According to McIntyre, baseball stadium construction in other communities typically lasted about one year.
Even though the plans for the stadium are still in the earliest stages, McIntyre stated that Yoder has had a very strong leadership role in initiating both discussion and planning for the minor league stadium. Yoder’s initiative in leading the stadium’s development committees displays his vision of fully utilizing Chester County’s resources in order to expand the horizon of the area’s future.
Yoder discussed that a minor league baseball venue will not only provide entertainment for all ages in the area, but it will also succeed in unifying the communities of the area with a sense of pride in the number of opportunities Chester County has to offer to its citizens.
Jennifer James is a first-year English major. She can be reached at JJ655874@wcupa.edu