The City of High Point, North Carolina seeks to make a significant public investment in construction of a downtown baseball stadium which would be home to an Atlantic League (Independent) baseball team.
The city wants to use the ballpark as a lynchpin for a broader downtown economic development plan. High Point seeks to take a page from the economic development playbook of quite a few other North Carolina municipalities that have used new minor league baseball stadiums as key drivers of downtown redevelopment plans. In addition to the American Tobacco campus in Durham, one can look to successful projects in Greensboro and Charlotte in recent years. Fayetteville has begun its own stadium project, and such venues are being discussed as cornerstones of revitalization plans in towns such as Gastonia and Kannapolis.
Such projects can be expensive, however, and have become significantly more so in recent years. What are the sources of funding available to bring such projects online? Public-private partnerships are often necessary to meet the initial construction obligations. Even with private capital in the mix, the question for the public entity remains: how much public investment is necessary to see a reasonable return on the taxpayers’ economic development investment?
That is often a complicated question, and each project – and community – is unique. Regardless of differences, the answer most often hinges on bringing all of the interested parties to the table early in the process, in a collaborative effort to overcome obstacles and piece together the solutions which can bring these projects to fruition.