PARKERSBURG - Mayor Bob Newell said he plans to ask Parkersburg City Council to fund part of a feasibility study for a proposed Frontier League Baseball team.
Newell said he recently spoke with Sam Winans and Joe Campbell, local officials with the sports arm of the Wood County Economic Development Authority working on the deal, about the study.
Officials from the Frontier League and the Washington (Pa.) Wild Things have made several trips this year to the area to meet with officials about the possibility of creating a franchise in Parkersburg.
Earlier this summer officials had a series of public meetings in the region to explain the idea and measure public support. The move has been met with enthusiasm. But little has been done - aside from a series of public meetings.
The mayor, like other officials, said he does not want public money going into a stadium.
Newell said the study needs to be done before officials can proceed.
"This is a necessary step and it has to be done before anything else can go forward," he said.
The first step in the project is a two-part feasibility study that would cost upward of $50,000. The first part of the study would cost another $25,000.
Newell said he plans to ask council for $10,000 to help fund the feasibility study. The item will be up for consideration at city council's Dec. 18, meeting, the final meeting of the year and for the current makeup of council. Four new members - Roger Brown, Kim Coram, JR Carpenter and John Kelly - take office next month.
Newell said if approved the money would come from the city's Capital Reserve fund. The money would go to the economic development authority. When all the money needed for the study is there, the authority would hire a consultant to perform the study.
"That's the entire reason we have the Capital Reserve fund - to spur economic development," Newell said. "This baseball issue is not just about baseball. It is about spurring economic development."