Officials from the city of Jeffersonville, members of the Nations Baseball Park, local hoteliers and a few members of the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau met Friday afternoon to discuss a proposed baseball facility in Jeffersonville.

The purpose of the meeting was to show the possible economic impact the $25 million, 25-field baseball complex, built on about 100 acres, would bring to Southern Indiana. Louis “Coach” Presutti, owner of the Cooperstown, N.Y., Dreams Park, made a presentation to the group, but The Evening News was asked to leave the meeting when he began to speak.

Tension has surrounded the city’s bid for the project, as there was a perceived lack of support from the tourism bureau by the city. It was also marred by an unsuccessful attempt to oust Jim Keith, executive director of the tourism bureau.

After a contentious meeting Sept. 30, the tourism bureau has since committed $120,000 per year for the next three years to help promote the Nations Baseball Park development, if Jeffersonville is chosen for the complex.

Before The Evening News was asked to leave — the meeting did not have a quorum of tourism board members and, thus, did not have to be public — the economic possibilities for the proposal were discussed.

According to previous reports, the park could bring in as much as $35 million in economic development, account for 95,000 hotel and motel room rentals and bring at least 500 jobs, many seasonal.

An area near the Clark Maritime Center has been mentioned as a possible location, which Jeffersonville would lease to Nations Baseball for development after the city secured the land.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that the impact of a park like this coming to town is pretty significant,” said Jon Robinson, with Nations Baseball, while introducing one of two videos shown to those in attendance during the first part of the meeting.

“I think from a hoteliers standpoint, one thing that Cooperstown doesn't have is a lot of hotels, but it is about 80,000 room nights across the summer,” he said.

“The great thing about a project like this is people come and visit, they spend their money, they enjoy the community and they leave. You don’t have to build extra schools, you don’t have to put on more fire departments, you don’t have to put a lot of infrastructure in — and so that’s the best form of economic development.

“That's why a lot of communities are vying for projects like this.”

According to a press release from the tourism bureau, 19 other communities in eight states were courting developers, including Louisville.

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