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Ballpark Town Meetings To Be Held In and Outside Parkersburg

Update 8/22/2012 6:05 P.M.

Citizens of Parkersburg won't be alone in giving their opinions on the proposed professional baseball team and ballpark.

Yhe city is planning a series of public town hall meetings. But, in addition to Parkersburg, they'll also be held in Marietta, Belpre and possibly St. Marys.

It's part of an effort to get the entire valley involved in the process, before a feasibility study gets under way.

"It would be difficult to have a good read on a feasibility study if people are questioned on something they're not fully familiar with," Mayor Bob Newell says. "We thought these public information meetings would be a help, so they would know what the project is before they're contacted."

The process of getting the team, and the ballpark, has been mostly low-key since it began back in the spring.

But Mayor Newell says the city and the Wood County Development Authority have been regularly discussing plans for the project.

Updated 6/06/2012 6:40 P.M.

It's not "play ball"...yet.

But a feasability study could soon get under way...leading to professional baseball once again being played in parkersburg.

The owner of the Washington Wild Things team...joined by representatives of an architectural firm...met with city and development leaders Wednesday.

Their goal: is to get the process going, to build a new ballpark.

But first, they want to know what the public thinks.

" It seems to be a good start; public leadership is behind this," says David Stone, Associate Vice-President of the firm AECOM. "We've got a league and a team that are really behind this market. So it becomes a matter of, what the local market, from local residents and the business community is, in supporting this kind of facility."

Mayor Bob Newell says funding is being sought for the first phase of the study.

He says the study would be done in phases, with the first phase being finding out whether residents and businesses would patronize the facility, including the purchase of business and luxury boxes.

The architectural firm is enthusiastic about building a park on Fort Boreman hill...and visited that site Wednesday afternoon.

"I think it will lend itself beautifully for the stadium itself, says David Stone, AECOM's Senior Vice-President. "I there's a lot of space for associated development; restaurants, hotels, other areas for retail development that want to be associated with a baseball stadium."

Updated: 5/23/2012 7:05 P.M.

Mayor Bob Newell says the owner of the Washington Wild Things team will be in Parkersburg next month, to talk about plans for a professional baseball team...and the ballpark in which it would play...with city and business leaders.

That meeting will be held June 6th.

Newell and others were in Washington, Pennsylvania Tuesday night for the team's home opener.

The mayor says the city would like to partner with other West Virginia cities in building a park for the team.

The two he has in mind are Clarksburg and Bridgeport.
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It isn't just Parkersburg...people from throughout the area are excited at the prospects of having pro baseball in the city again.

"If there's a place where they could build it, it would be ideal," says St.. Marys resident Russell Maston. "Keep it as close to the center of town where you can ."

In terms of where it will play, not everyone agrees that building a new ballpark is the best solution.

"I'd like to see them revamp the Dugout on the south side," says Mark Hawk. "There's good parking there, and people would be able to get in and out ."

Others say the best site is one where that has plenty of space available...and they're not just thinking of the park itself.

"The largest population here, and many of us are still working, have handicapped stickers," says Ronald Hickman. "And we can't walk too far."

The facility is being envisioned as one where different kinds of activities can take place...not just those related to baseball, or even sports.

But, as has been the case with a convention center, a site that's always mentioned is downtown Parkersburg.

"I think it would be, to keep downtown moving, keep it motivated," says Bill Nutter.

Amidst this discussion, however...there's a reminder that all of this...even after last night's meeting in downtown parkersburg...is still very much in the talking stage.

That even includes a feasibility study for a new park...although Cam Huffman of the Wood County Development Authority says that might be closer to getting started, as a result of a Tuesday night meeting.


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