Study to decide viability of Phoenixville minor league baseball stadium

PHOENIXVILLE — A feasibility study on bringing a minor league baseball team to Phoenixville may get the ball rolling on the project.

In a press release, The Phoenixville Baseball Team, a committee of community members and former community members, announced that the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation awarded the committee a $12,500 grant for a feasibility study on the project.

The Chester County Economic Development Council will be conducting the study which is expected to be completed in December 2012, according to the press release.

In addition to determining the cost of construction of the stadium the review will also look at other minor league stadiums, local demographic information “as a means to adjust the comparable financial data to the local Phoenixville Metropolitan Statistical Area,” debt service and other financial items. The study will also look at the possibility of public funding and grants.

“The government is not related to the project,” said Barry Cassidy, staff to the Phoenixville Baseball Committee. “This is not something the borough is doing and we’re not asking the borough to own or finance the stadium.”

The borough is responsible for approving the project, Cassidy said.

The plans are to have the stadium open in 2016 and for it to be located on the west side of the former steel site, he said.

The committee is open to looking at other sites, Cassidy said.

He said after the feasibility study is done, the next step is signing the land agreement and choosing a team.

“We’re looking at all possibilities (for teams),” Cassidy said.

He said it’s a complex process because of all the professional rules to abide by.

Members of the committee will also be researching additional entertainment opportunities for the proposed stadium such as concerts, Cassidy said.

Cassidy said he feels that the stadium is something that would match the goals of the borough as long as the borough still has an “arts and entertainment economic development strategy.”

He sees many benefits to having a stadium in town.

“It adds to the critical mass of arts and entertainment to what’s already in the downtown,” Cassidy said. “It would bring more people and a greater level of commerce to the downtown and the value of buildings will rise.”

Cassidy said the community has come so far with revitalization throughout the years.

He said the stadium would add to the commercial tax base in town causing residents to pay less on taxes.

According to the Phoenixville Baseball Team website, www.phoenixvillebaseball.com, the committee members are Joe Altomonte, Dave Chawaga, Connor Cummins, Manny DeMutis, Adam Deveney, Dave Gautreau, Fred Hubler, Kevin Johnson, Richard Kardon, Ron Knabb, Jim Kovaleski, Dick Kunsch, Julian McCracken, Dave Moskowitz, Marian Moskowitz, Kevin Negandhi, Jim Northcott, Crysta Peers, Jim Redding and Steve Welch.

Knabb was the architect for Veterans Stadium.

Phoenixville has been home to some big names in baseball: Andre Thornton, Mike Piazza and John Smiley.

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