Minor League baseball in Gwinnett?

Gwinnett Commissioner Bert Nasuti wants to bring a minor league baseball team to Gwinnett:

“I want to see us partner with the private sector to create Gwinnett’s ‘field of dreams,'” Nasuti said Monday.

Nasuti said he plans to present a formal proposal to his colleagues today during the board’s final meeting of a three-day retreat in north Georgia. He’s asking for a study of the feasibility of building a baseball complex that he says could be used for high-school playoffs and championship games as well as a pro team.

The commissioner acknowleges he doesn’t have a cost estimate for the facility, nor does he know precisely where a stadium could be built. Nasuti suggested a possible site might be found north of the Gwinnett Arena on I-85.

But the commissioner said Gwinnett’s demographics are ideal for a minor league team.

“We’re a large county. We have the second largest population in the state. We have plenty of access from interstates and major roads. We have a strong economic base,” Nasuti said. “And we have a successful track record.”

He was referring to the Gwinnett Arena, which is home to the county’s minor league hockey team, the Gwinnett Gladiators.

Nasuti said his discussions with potential investors, whom he would not name, led him to conclude a minor league ballpark could be built entirely with private funding.

The part I like about this are the words “private funding.”

I’m not sure it would fly with Rome already having a team, but when the Georgia Force were in Gwinnett they drew decent crowds, as the Gladiators currently. We’ll see what happens. It’s certainly an interesting proposal.

5 comments

  1. jsm says:

    This idea was recently mentioned in Hall County and quickly brushed aside. It appears that minor league teams are not good income producers for their communities, but rather serve as mechanisms to bring people into the area for shopping, dining, hotels, etc. I would think Gwinnett doesn’t need a minor league team to draw people in. They already have plenty of people coming into the county everyday.

  2. StevePerkins says:

    I usually poo-poo all over big government schemes like the “Brain Train”, etc… but actually I wouldn’t mind at all if the local government were able to attract a minor-league baseball team.

    I’m a native Georgian, and have ZERO background in hockey, but my wife and I have fallen in love with going to Gladiator games at Gwinnett Arena… it’s the most entertainment you can get for the reasonable price. Likewise, baseball excites me like watching paint dry, and you couldn’t drag me to Turner Field unless you have a pre-paid parking spot already reserved… but everyone loves the ballpark atmosphere, so minor league games are great fun.

    I really don’t see how a minor league team in Rome would be “too much competition” for there to be a team in Gwinnett. As much as I enjoyed going to Georgia Force games when they played in Gwinnett, I’m not willing to go all the way down to Phillips Arena to watch them now. Rome’s not exactly “too close” to Gwinnett in my view.

    As long as it’s financed by the private sector (with maybe some tax incentives), and not packaged as just a pork handout to developers, I’m all for it.

  3. Rusty says:

    Whereas some of you see private sector as the key words, I see partnership as the key word. Technically, the Falcons have a partnership with the government, but then +/- 90% of their facilities are subsidized. Careful what you wish for…

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