by Jennifer Moulliet, 13WMAZ.com
- Mayor Chuck Shaheen and Warner Robins City Council offered their moral support for a plan to bring minor league baseball to the city.
- The support does not include money.
- Houston County commissioners sent a similar letter.
Members of Warner Robins City Council sent a letter to John Hughes Wednesday pledging their moral support, but stopping short of agreeing to any financial help.
The letter reads:
"We are unable and unwilling to commit any city funding to the venture (or to any similar effort related to minor league baseball by others). However, we are supportive of the efforts and encourage you to pursue your plan."
The letter is signed by Mayor Chuck Shaheen, speaking on behalf of the rest of council. He ends by saying that the presence of professional sports in Warner Robins would be a great source of pride for the community.
Houston County Commission also sent a similar letter to Hughes.
13WMAZ spoke with Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist,who says, while there are lots of benefits from bringing in a minor league team, it won't provide an immediate economic benefit, like increasing employment or average income.
"What it can very well do is improve the cultural and social life in community, it shouldn't be looked at as something that's going to promote the local economy at least not based on the general experience elsewhere in minor league baseball." explained Zimbalist.
Healso says the city shouldn't rely on the fact that the Little League Regional Championship stadium is in Warner Robins when it comes to picking a site.
"Communities throughout the country have youth baseball and most communities throughout the country have an interest in baseball whether or not that translates into a successful commercial operation of a minor league baseball team is another matter," says Zimbalist.
He estimates the cost to bring a single-A team to the citywould be onthe lower-end between$5- and $10-million dollars, and on the upper end somewhere in the ballpark of $30- to $40-million.