The same day a Wilmington company reiterated its plans for $500 million in development on the Chester waterfront in connection with the new Major League Soccer franchise, there came another alert in my e-mail:
Chester County wants to build a minor league baseball stadium.
I think I said out loud, “You’re kidding.”
You can argue that live professional soccer is a scarce commodity in the Philadelphia area. But more minor league baseball, likely at public expense?
The Wilmington Blue Rocks, Camden Riversharks, Reading Phillies, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Trenton Thunder and Lakewood BlueClaws — all a short drive from Philadelphia.
This latest plan is being championed by West Chester Mayor Dick Yoder. The Chester County Economic Development Council said Tuesday it is helping Yoder and others secure funding for a $75,000 feasibility study. Supporters, calling themselves the Chester County Stadium Project, have retained Texas architect Alan E. Adler.
In an interview with the Inquirer earlier this month, Yoder estimated a 4,000-seat stadium would cost $20 million to $35 million.
Want to guess if it would need state or other public funding?
Cast your eyes north to Lehigh County where a $49.5 million stadium was built to host the Philadelphia Phillies AAA affiliate. The state supplied about $18 million for the IronPigs’ 8,100-seat Coca-Cola Park.
I know gasoline isn’t cheap, but Google Maps says it’s a 36-minute drive to Wilmington’s Daniel S. Frawley Stadium from West Chester.
If the Chester County Stadium Project persists in the pro-sports game, it would be better served talking with Comcast-Spectacor about what it might like in an arena to host the Philadelphia Phantoms minor league hockey team once it knocks down the Wachovia Spectrum.