Feasibility study approved for new Sand Gnats stadium - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Feasibility study approved for new Sand Gnats stadium

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The ninth inning is coming up quick, and in this hypothetical game, no one has scored yet between the city of Savannah and the owner's of the Sand Gnats.

Keeping the Sand Gnats in Savannah is at stake, but the owners want the city to help fund a multi-purpose $35 million baseball stadium.

City Council took a step on Thursday toward seeing if this is something the city wants to do.

City Council approved a feasibility study, a $55,000 study to gauge the community's input, finances and the impact on the community, not only to see if a new venue is a good idea, but also if renovating historic Grayson Stadium is a better idea.

However, if the renovation idea is what comes back as the better option, and the one the council chooses, they may have to kiss the Sand Gnats franchise goodbye. The owners said this has been a six year negotiation with Savannah as they also continue negotiations with Columbia, SC.

They've presented their idea for a baseball stadium, concert venue, event venue, to Savannah months ago, and they want an answer by the fall.

Mayor Edna Jackson said the city will not be forced to make a fast decision, even with the threat of the Sand Gnats leaving.

"It depends on what you mean by fast," said Jason Freier with the Sand Gnats. "In Columbia, they commissioned a study in November and we had a first vote on the park lease agreement in March. So four months. We are still four months, plus that, so we feel that is a pretty reasonable time frame. Certainly a time frame most cities have worked with."

"It's business," said Jackson. "That is their decision. We can't determine their decision, but we are going to do it the right way."

The feasibility study would possibly be done by august, with a decision the Sand Gnats owners said is needed by September because of Minor League Baseball guidelines and rules.

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