Four months after approving up to $20 million for renovations to McCormick Field, Asheville City Council is taking another step to fund improvements to the home of the Asheville Tourists minor league baseball team.
As part of the consent agenda for its meeting of Tuesday, July 25, Council will consider a $3.7 million contract with engineering firm Ewing Cole Inc. for the design of several improvements to McCormick Field, including a new sidewalk for safe pedestrian access. It’s unclear whether the design work is part of the previously approved $20 million or represents additional spending; Chris Corl, Asheville’s director of community and regional entertainment facilities, told Council March 14 that the city would spend about $875,000 per year on the field for 20 years under a “worst-case scenario.”
The total cost of the McCormick Field work and borrowing for the project, as shared during a March 7 presentation to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, is estimated at more than $56.1 million. Asheville agreed to chip in up to $1 million per year for 20 years, with the remainder of the funds coming from county government, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority and the Tourists organization itself.
As previously reported by Xpress, McCormick Field has been home to a minor league baseball team for each of the past 64 years. The current Tourists franchise, owned by the family of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and DeWine Seeds Silver Dollar Baseball, brings in roughly $9.8 million in local spending annually for Buncombe County.
In other news
Council will vote on further delaying consideration of a Land Use Incentive Grant for proposed microapartments at 46 Aston St. The developer had applied for the grant in the fall, prior toCouncil’s June vote to temporarily pause LUIG awards for microhousing projects.
That moratorium is meant to give city staffers time to develop new LUIG standards for microhousing, defined as projects with individual units of about 400 square feet or less. Currently, microhousing is eligible for the same city tax rebates as are larger apartments.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains 20 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. In addition to the McCormick Field item, highlights include the following:
- A resolution authorizing City Manager Debra Campbell to enter into an interlocal agreement with Buncombe County to share the costs of an audit recommended by the Community Reparations Commission, with the city responsible for paying up to about $87,000. The “Stop the Harm” audit’s purpose is to ensure local governments aren’t damaging the area’s Black community through their institutional processes.
- Updates to an ordinance that would prohibit the storing of bicycles, carts, strollers or other means of personal transportation on city property for longer than seven days. A similar amendment, which would have set a three-day storage limit, was previously slated to come before Council in April but was removed from consideration.
- A resolution authorizing Campbell to donate used police gear to the UNC Asheville campus police department. This gear will include rifle slings, ballistic vest plates and radios.
Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 2754.
Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 2754; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilJuly252023@PublicInput.com until 9 a.m. July 25. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to AshevilleNCCouncil@AshevilleNC.gov.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found at this link.