Herd baseball field rumors are more than that
Published: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014 22:02
A home for Herd baseball might be coming sooner than previously believed. Huntington’s mayor, Steve Williams, announced plans are continuing to develop at city hall for a new first-class baseball field.
“We will build a new baseball stadium,” he said.
Williams, a Huntington native, said he wants Huntington to be a destination city for sporting events, and he is starting with Marshall baseball. Williams is not only Huntington’s mayor, he is also the currently president of the M Club and is a three-year Marshall football letter winner.
It has been several years since the Herd has had a field to call home, and Williams made it apparent it would be worth the wait.
“I want something that is the quality that is of Conference USA baseball which means it has to be first class,” he said. “One thing my staff has learned is that if we aren’t going to go first class on something, I’m not interested in doing it. If it is worthy of Conference USA, it is worthy of the citizens of Huntington.”
Williams has been in contact with Herd Athletic Director Mike Hamrick, and said Hamrick is open to the idea of the city building a stadium for the Herd.
“I have had conversations with Marshall and they’ve said if we find a way to get it built then they will be a lease holder,” Williams said. “We are not expecting Marshall University to build it. I expect it will be a city project. We will work with the property developers to see its construction.”
In another statement, Williams revealed other plans for the stadium when he said he plans to bring a minor league team to share the stadium with the Herd as well. He said is working with other schools to find how they worked their contract with Morgantown.
“I had a meeting with Oliver Luck, the athletic director of WVU, a year ago. He was showing me how they structured their deal where it’s owned by private developers and that WVU is coming in and using it and there is also a minor league team that’s coming in.”
Williams and Luck have been able to put the rivalry aside so that Williams can find what will work best to build a relationship between Huntington and Marshall baseball.
“He just sent me the plans that were constructed for their facility up at WVU,” Williams said. “He’s been someone who hasn’t been bashful about sharing how to go about doing what they’re doing and how it might help us.”
While many Herd fans might be skeptical of this news, Williams made it clear the first stage of the project was underway.
“One of the problems is just gaining access to the property and we have an idea as to where we want it,” he said. “Part of what we’ve got to figure out is accusation costs. Free sounds really good, but it might not necessarily sound good to the people who own the property.”
While the location was not disclosed, Williams said he is trying to make it as beneficial to the property owners as much as it will benefit Huntington.
“What I’ve learned is asking for something to be given to us is something you shouldn’t be ashamed of.”
His goal is to have the Ballpark built before he leaves office. His first term ends in January 2017 and he can serve up to three four-year terms.
While a timeline is not yet set, it is apparent the project has begun and we will soon be able to bring Herd Baseball home.
Courtney Sealey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.