Goshen News, Goshen, IN

July 3, 2013

Elkhart County ‘Miracle’ doesn’t pass sniff test

— I am writing to suggest that a high degree of scrutiny ought to be applied to the “Elkhart County Miracle” baseball team and stadium project proposed (again) by Craig Wallin of CTT Communications. This is particularly important for public officials whom Mr. Wallin has said he may approach for public financing.

The proposal by Mr. Wallin does not pass the “sniff test,” but evokes a faint odor of Wil Cashen and his press-conference-loving, seemingly one-man Electric Motors Corp. around Wakarusa a few years ago.

The Northern League does not exist. No other teams are in the league, and no stadiums are in the works. There are no competing teams or facilities for a league supposed to start on-field play in less than a year.

A new stadium and major remodel will require detailed plans to be submitted for approval to the State Building Commissioner’s office in Indianapolis. This process can take months.

Mr. Wallin says that excavation will begin even before closing takes place and before any site plans are approved.

Many contractors are rather busy as the economy recovers. I wonder what company has been secured to build this stadium on short notice, with an uncertain time frame and financing, and during the winter months.

Just a few short weeks ago Mr. Wallin stood before an Elkhart County judge and claimed that he was unable to make payment toward a small claims judgment against him and in favor of my construction company. Imagine my surprise to read only days later in the newspaper that he was the owner of a professional baseball franchise embarking upon a $12 million stadium development project!

If this baseball proposal does come to fruition without major trouble or public expense, Mr. Wallin will have chosen a truly apt name for his team.

— Adam Scharf