Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Columbia City Council has approved a plan to bring a minor league baseball team to Columbia.
A divided council approved the measure by a 4-3 vote Tuesday night.
Councilwoman Leona Plaugh tried to delay the vote numerous times but a majority vote killed the motion.
Those opposed to the ballpark deal say it is not a smart decision to use hospitality tax dollars to pay for the stadium.
Mayor Steve Benjamin says that no businesses that receive hospitality tax funding will not be affected from the deal.
The agreement allows the city manager to enter a licence agreement with Hardball Capital, which will bring a team to Columbia to play at ballpark that the city will build on Bull Street near downtown.
The agreement will allow Hardball's minor league team to play at the stadium for 30 years. The company would also manage, operate, and maintain the facility.
Hardball wants to be in the stadium by 2015 or 2016. Benjamin says realistically the team will start playing during the 2016 season.
The baseball stadium is considered the centerpiece of the Bull Street development, a plan to completely remake what was the state's mental health facility complex.