One has to wonder, gazing at the mostly vacant acreage surrounding State Mutual Stadium, home of the Class A Rome Braves, after learning of a planned project to tap into the value of the Augusta GreenJackets, a team that plays in the same division of the South Atlantic League as do the Braves.
The Jackets are in the process of getting new owners who plan to build a new stadium in North Augusta (which is actually in South Carolina but right opposite downtown Augusta, Ga.) using $122 million of their own money and $43 million from the City of North Augusta that would come from a “seat tax” and bonds. The resulting complex includes a 200-room hotel, a parking garage, four restaurants, 75 townhomes, 225 apartments, 30,000 square feet of retail space and 40,000 square feet of offices.
Surrounding the Rome Braves’ taxpayer-owned home field is roughly enough vacant space to handle all this — even more via the newly accessible land across the Oostanaula River due to the taxpayer-built Armuchee Connector bridge.
The Braves, an Atlanta affiliate, made the league playoffs last season, and the GreenJackets, a San Francisco Giant affiliate, did not. In 2012, attendance at Braves games was 184,983 and at Jackets games 182,124.
So, when does our Field of Dreams stop looking so sleepy?