Asheville commits $20 million for McCormick Field upgrades

And the Asheville Tourists will sign a 20-year lease.

McCormick Field

McCormick Field has been around since 1924 and sits at the edge of downtown Asheville.

Photo courtesy of the Asheville Tourists

Asheville City Council has committed to funding $20 million worth of repairs and upgrades to McCormick Field over the next 20 years. This resolution was adopted unanimously at City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, March 14.

This arrangement has arrived just in the nick of time for the Asheville Tourists. As we reported in December 2022, the Major League Baseball organization has given the Asheville Tourists until Saturday, April 1 to secure a funding plan for McCormick Field. Without a plan, the MLB has stated it would relocate the team for the 2024 season.

McCormick Field rendering

A rendering of proposed changes for McCormick Field.

Photo via Asheville Tourists

So, how exactly will all this funding shake out? Here are the broad strokes of the city’s resolution:

  • Over the next 20 years, the city will pay up to $1 million annually to support facility renovations.
  • The Asheville Tourists will also commit to a 20-year lease, investing a minimum of $75,000 in capital improvements to the facility per year, plus $450,000 annually in lease payments. (In the current lease, the Asheville Tourists pay only $1 per year)
  • Once renovated, the facility will be multi-purpose and host events beyond Tourists baseball games.
  • The Asheville Tourists will also handle their own parking operations, rescind a request for additional fireworks nights, and continue to follow the city’s noise ordinance.

Why did the city choose to support these repairs?
Long story short, the economy. The city has cited that the Asheville Tourists bring in $9.8 million to Buncombe County annually and that the team’s presence also supports the vitality of South Slope businesses.

What are the next steps?

The city’s funding is just one piece of the puzzle, reports Asheville Citizen-Times. On Tuesday, March 21, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will vote on a $250,000 annual commitment that would support renovations over the next 20 years.