Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Florence given baseball deadline

Entrepreneur asks if city wants team, suggests moving if answer no

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        FLORENCE — The man who wants to start an independent minor league baseball team gave Florence City Council a specific deadline Tuesday: Either determine by next month whether the city is interested in having the team, or he will put it in another Northern Kentucky city.

        Cincinnati businessman Gary Enzweiler, who owns the rights to the Frontier League franchise, said he needs to know Florence's plans because league officials and local business leaders are pressing him for a decision.

        “We're committed to Florence, but Florence has got to give us some kind of decision soon,” Mr. Enzweiler said.

        Councilwoman Melodee Merrell said there was a problem.

        “As a council, we have seen nothing,” Ms. Merrell said.

        Mr. Enzweiler and the city have been talking about the matter for several months.

        Mayor Diane Whalen eventually asked H.B. Deatherage, an assistant with Mr. Enzweiler, for a letter-of-intent form the city can consider. She said the form, and several reports regarding the economic impact of a proposed $10 million stadium along Interstate 75, as well as a naming-rights package and a stadium budget, could be ready by the end of the week.

        Mr. Enzweiler did not say where besides Florence he would consider placing the team if the city does not proceed.

        In other action Tuesday, city council approved an ordinance to annex the 197-acre Turfway Park racetrack.


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