by Sam Hieb
High Point Enterprise reports HP Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO Tim Mabe is pitching a new downtown baseball stadium for the Thomasville Hi-Toms. But –as the headline states—the idea is short on details, including–you guessed it —cost:
“Imagine 75,000 people dumped right at the front door of Washington Street on an annual basis,” Mabe said. “I think that could be a game changer.”
The project, he said, could give High Point a niche as a prime venue for youth-sports events.
He said organizers haven’t approached property owners in the area. He said International Market Centers owns about 10 acres in the vicinity of 200 Steele, though it does not own the facility itself.
“I couldn’t imagine a scenario where IMC would not be a partner in this,” said Mabe. “We hope the public sector will also have a role.”
HiToms President Greg Suire said organizers envision development of the park as a public-private partnership.
“The ballpark in Charlotte, which we visited, was public-private. Greensboro was all private. I would think our’s will be much more private than public,” he said.
Organizers have had discussions with potential donors, he added.
“We’re not ready to divulge where we are with that,” Suire said. “I think it’s going to be another six to seven months before we say, ‘Here’s the actual plan.’ But, as far as the groundwork of the vision and the mission, that’s been established. We have a sense of what we want to do.”
Stay tuned –HP has been grasping for some type of downtown sports/entertainment venue for a while now. More intriguing is Suire’s statement that the Hi-Toms would split time between the new stadium and the team’s current home, Finch Field, which is owned by the City of Thomasville and has been recently renovated.
But with “modern amenities, from the luxury boxes to the 360-degree concourse, the different views,” it would be hard to imagine the Hi-Toms staying at Finch, if the new stadium ever becomes reality.