HIGH POINT, N.C. – Without the Furniture Market in town, the streets of High Point can seem almost ghost-like. But, the city is hoping to change that with the new ballpark. Tonight, people were asked to envision restaurants, shops, hotels, and condos surrounding the yet-to-be-built ballpark.
The word, "underutilized" was mentioned more than a few times at the public meeting. Only two months out of the year, High Point is jumping. But with a new ballpark and what could be built around it, the city wants to make sure the 10-other months are just as exciting.
“It does seem like the stepsister of the two other cities [in the Triad],” said Sue Fairchild, a 30-year citizen of the city, and a business owner.
She was there at the packed meeting Monday night, with more people hoping High Point will no longer be seen in that light.
Plans and maps on paper, now - coming into focus. At the forum, people were encouraged to give their two cents on what they want on the 131 acres surrounding the planned stadium.
“What we want is entertainment for our community to be able to go to,” said Heidi Galanti, one of the planning leaders, “And to not have to go to another community for that. We do want it to be popping 365 days a year.”
“I think the proposal will help make it a year-round destination,” said Fairchild.
The city-owned stadium will cost $45-million dollars. They paid $15 million for the land, and will spend another $30 million to build the stadium. However, that money is not coming from the taxpayers. City leaders say they are borrowing the money, with plans to pay it back with revenue from the stadium, such as leasing agreements, ticket sales and facility fees.
The first pitch is expected in the Spring of 2019. But leaders say it is truly just the starting piece to a downtown.
“The real reason that we're doing this is to receive the other developments that would occur around it, so the restaurants and the retail, all those kinds of things that will create a destination,” said Hemann.
Fairchild says as more development trickles in, she also expects her existing business to grow.
“It’s a very small bed-and-breakfast but I'm really hoping that it will increase my business too,” she said.
The city believes the area can support restaurants, hotels, shops and office space within 10 years. Some suggestions made tonight will be presented to the city council next month.