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NC Dinos join KBO in demanding new site for stadium

All Headlines 16:21 September 25, 2013

SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- The NC Dinos on Wednesday joined the country's top baseball league in demanding their home city change the site for the team's new stadium, citing accessibility problems with the city's original choice.

The Dinos, an expansion Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club, said in a press release that they will formally ask Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, to pick a different location for the team's new ballpark.

The Dinos joined the KBO this year as the league's ninth and newest team. They're currently playing at the renovated Masan Stadium, which can seat up to 20,000 fans. Under an agreement with the KBO, reached when the Dinos were approved as an expansion club, Changwon must complete a new stadium with at least 25,000 seats by 2016.

The team's move comes one day after the KBO also made the same demand. Earlier this year, Changwon, about 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul, announced that the stadium will be built on the land previously occupied by the Army College. There were three candidate sites for the stadium, and critics argue that Changwon went with the location least accessible for the majority of the 1.1 million people in the city.

On Tuesday, announcing findings of its own feasibility studies on stadium sites, the KBO said Changwon's selection was flawed on many levels and argued that the Dinos' new home should be built in a different location.

Changwon rejected the KBO's request, saying a great amount of money had already gone into construction and it was not feasible to alter the plan at this juncture.

The Dinos' front office had mostly stayed out of the feud between the KBO and Changwon before Wednesday's announcement.

"We had hopes that the new baseball stadium Changwon promised would be the field of dreams for our ball club and fans," the team's statement said. "But we were disappointed with the KBO's findings that the location for the stadium was chosen after inadequate research."

The Dinos also noted that Park Wan-soo, the mayor of Changwon, failed to keep his own promise that the top priority for the new ballpark would be the accessibility for the local residents.

"We can't stake the future of our team, fans and professional baseball in the country on such a wrong decision," the Dinos said. "The base for the new stadium must take into account opinions of our regional fans and the entire professional baseball."

Changwon is an amalgamation of three municipalities: Changwon, Jinhae and Masan. Jinhae and Masan are now districts within what is now one large city.

Critics of Changwon's decision say that the move is linked to a tug-of-war between the old municipalities of Changwon and Masan over the locations for the new city hall and the provincial government office.

Integrated Changwon is still using the old Changwon municipality's city hall building. Critics argue that for the sake of balance, the new Changwon will seek to open a new city hall in downtown Changwon and will relocate the provincial office from the old Changwon municipality to what used to be Masan. Old Jinhae will then get the new stadium as compensation, according to critics.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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