In the classic film “Field of Dreams” the main character is an Iowa corn farmer who hears voices telling him to build a ballpark in the middle of an Iowa cornfield.
Gwinnett County commissioners recently heard similar voices telling them to build a ballpark.
The county’s own “Field of Dreams” is a major accomplishment for the commissioners. And fast-tracking a project on this scale is not easy. It requires an amazing amount of determination, intelligence and creativity.
But residents have raised red flags. When it came to planning, we, the county residents and taxpayers, did not get a say in the form of a vote. Research polls and editorials show that opinions are mixed. Here’s the reality: Like it or not, the project is going forward.
As the structure rises from the parched Georgia clay, let’s hope leaders, public and private, see this as an opportunity to develop an attraction with environmentally sound ideas that include green-designed buildings, a drought-tolerant field and a greener traffic plan.
A green travel specialist, Richard G. Edwards, who operates greenspottravel.org, says, “Green designs are cost competitive, innovative and attractive to 78 percent of the market that considers itself environmentally conscious.”
Will our new park exercise good environmental practices such as provide recycling bins and biodegradable materials?
If our stadium is as successful as our commissioners predict, we will experience massive traffic headaches in the area, which will further hurt the environment. Whether it is a future rail line, natural gas-powered shuttle buses or vans, something needs to be implemented to ease congestion. Let’s not develop this area like so many other attractions in the metro area that have sprouted up over the past three decades. It is time for bold leadership to take the reins and work with planners to handle the throngs of visitors expected for games.
The new Gwinnett Braves begin an effort to turn this county into a tourist destination. Perhaps others will develop restaurants, shops and hotels near the stadium.
A great example of how to operate a minor league ballpark and build upon its success can be found in Little Rock The park is on the North Little Rock side of the Arkansas River. Bridges connect the community with downtown Little Rock, which offers first-rate lodging at the Peabody Hotel, scores of shops and excellent restaurants.
While it is good that our new ballpark will create jobs, let’s hope that new attractions are environmentally responsible. Most likely the stadium will bring unprecedented revenue from tickets sales, parking receipts, car tax, naming rights, new jobs and tourists. Economic growth is good, but we should all work to accomplish growth in a smart manner.
I like the water tower off I-85 that proclaims “Gwinnett Is Great.”
It would be even better if we could also proclaim “Gwinnett Is Green.”