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Franklin County agrees to buy land for downtown ballpark

The effort to build a downtown baseball stadium for the columbus clippers is moving forward. Franklin County Commissioners Tuesday morning agreed to buy five parcels of land near the arena district on which to build a stadium.

Franklin County Commissioners have agreed to buy 5 parcels near the Arena district, just west of Neil Avenue. The county will pay no more than $11.5 million for the land.

Commission president Mary Jo Kilroy says the purchase agreement means the reality of a downtown stadium for the county-owned Clippers is coming closer despite complaints the project was stalled.

We were quietly negotiating a real estate deal and I understand there were some critics out there who were complaining because they were not hearing anything.. But we don't negotiate in public and we wanted to get a fair deal for the owners and a fair deal for the public and I think we achieved that, Kilroy said.

County officals say stadium revenues and money from other sources will pay for the land and stadium construction. County officials are negotiating with the owner of one remaining 1 acre parcel. After that, the next step is to look for any hazardous materials on the site and close the deals.

Meanwhile the county is considering several redevelopment options for the Clippers' current home - the 73 year old Cooper Stadium.

The proposals range from soccer, to a housing development to a motorcycle museum, track and Harley Davidson store, she said.

Kilroy says plans still are for the downtown ballpark to open in 2008.