Advocates of pro baseball meet public

BELPRE – The first phase of a two-phase feasibility study on bringing baseball to the Mid-Ohio Valley was off and running this week, with the first day culminating in a public forum in Belpre.

About a dozen people attended the public question-and-answer session Tuesday evening at the Belpre City Building. Tom Rooney, president of Rooney Sports and Entertainment Group, and David Stone of AECOM, the company hired to conduct the feasibility study, spoke to those in attendance, giving a quick overview of the process.

Stone said while attendance was small, it was unusual to have a public meeting so early in the feasibility study process.

“It’s a kind of unusual and positive step,” he said.

The group met earlier in the day with officials from West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Ohio Valley University and Marietta College, as well as area economic development groups. They plan to meet with more groups today.

Stone said the first phase of the study will take about seven weeks to complete. That study will focus mostly on the demographics of the area, interest from area businesses and residents and whether the area economically could support a professional baseball team.