The city of Bowling Green has approved $25 million in bonds for redevelopment of the city’s downtown district, with the focal point of the project to be a 4,000-seat minor league baseball stadium.
The initial steps toward that end are already in the works: The Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority, the nonprofit corporation charged with overseeing the redevelopment project, has approved a lease with DLR Sports and its owner, Art Solomon, that specifies that the stadium be ready in time for the 2009 South Atlantic League baseball season. (The South Atlantic League is the same league in which the Lexington Legends play.) Solomon, who owns the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats, has pledged to buy a team to play in the Bowling Green ballpark for at least 20 years.
Although the identity of the baseball team had not been named as of the end of February, speculation has been focused on the Columbus (Ga.) Catfish, whose contract with the city of Columbus ends after the 2008 season. Though the Catfish won the South Atlantic League championship in 2007, the team has struggled with low attendance levels since moving to Columbus from Albany, Ga., in 2003.
The downtown redevelopment project will also include a performing arts center, mixed-used developments, a parking garage and at least one hotel.