Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Investors seek softball franchise

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A group of investors has stepped up to the plate to take a swing at drawing a professional women's fast-pitch softball team to Butler County.

        Richard Duncan, a Dayton, Ohio, attorney who is involved with area softball organizations, told Butler County commissioners Monday his group of 10 investors wants the Women's Pro Softball League to award Cincinnati a franchise.

        Mr. Duncan said Butler County would be the ideal site because of its location between Cincinnati and Dayton in the Interstate 75 corridor.

        “Butler County is our first choice in southwestern Ohio and probably our only choice,” said Mr. Duncan, who is a trustee of Greater Cincinnati Softball and the Miami Valley Sports Foundation and is a member of the committee seeking to bring the 2012 Olympics to Cincinnati.

        He would like Butler County to contribute to the construction of a 3,500-seat stadium that would cost about $5 million.

        Commissioners said Monday they're interested in the proposal and would like to talk more with him and officials of the Denver-based league, headquartered in Denver.

        “There's a definite interest here,” Commissioner Chuck Furmon said.

        The county commissioners said a possible location for the stadium would be the former Voice of America property in West Chester Township, a 625-acre area that the township and the county hope to develop into a showcase recreation site.

        The Women's Pro Softball League, which has had more than 80 games telecast on ESPN and ESPN2, is planning to have eight teams next year and 12 teams by 2005.

        “I think the Cincinnati-Dayton area would be an excellent market for us,” said Rich Levine, WPSL executive vice president.


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