Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

The Big Story

May 12, 2014

City plans new downtown stadium

$11.5 million project would build baseball stadium downtown, mitigate flooding in flood-prone area

Those involved in the committee behind the city of Kokomo’s next big downtown project have referred to it as a “game changer.” Now, they’re ready to play ball, unveiling plans to build a new $11.5 million baseball stadium.

A blue ribbon committee appointed by Mayor Greg Goodnight in March 2013 provided its recommendation to build the park during a press conference on Monday. Plans call for raising the ground level in the traditionally flood-prone neighborhood to transform it into a flood mitigation area with onsite and offsite detention areas planned to the east and west of the stadium’s main entry plaza.

The stadium itself, which carries a $9 million price tag, would be located in downtown Kokomo, north of Vaile Avenue, between Union Street and Apperson Way, which would border the right field fence. The main entrance for the stadium would be located to the south on Vaile.

The new stadium renderings are the result of more than a year of planning, as the committee recommended the city perform a $112,000 facelift at CFD Investments Stadium in Highland Park in addition to building a new stadium, rather than perform a complete overhaul at CFD.

After the 16-member committee recommended building a new stadium to the Kokomo Common Council in August, it began looking into four different locations within the city before deciding on the downtown location in December.

“We have a need for a stadium,” Goodnight said. “When [the committee] originally went through CFD, what would you keep and what would you change. It didn’t have some of the modern amenities like concessions, locker rooms and enough parking or access for the disabled elderly that you would want a modern stadium to have.”

Plans call for 2,350 stadium seats with an additional 1,200 to 1,500 spots for lawn seating and a field with a synthetic playing surface. Individual flip-down seats will be located behind home plate leading up to the press area, while bench seats with a back rest will lead up behind each of the dugouts.

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