Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 15, 2013

Highland Park Stadium due for 2014 makeover

(Continued)

Kokomo —

The short porch is another, possibly, but Goodnight acknowledged the fact there are residential properties immediately behind the right field wall. Likewise, he said he doesn’t want to take down trees to make way for parking.

“If you look at Highland Park itself, it’s one of the best parks around in terms of mature trees, and as much as parking is an issue, we don’t want to damage the integrity of Highland Park,” Goodnight said. “It has so many natural qualities to it.”

With trees on one side and a neighborhood on the other, the baseball stadium itself has become a nice transition into the park, as well as a buffer between the park and the outside world.

“It’s a great stadium, and one of the nice things about old stadiums is that they have personality,” said Dave Kitchell, retired Kokomo Tribune sports editor. “Now they build stadiums where it’s 340 feet down the lines, and it’s the same in each power alley. That’s not what I would prefer.”

Dean Hockney, editor of Indiana Sports Journal, called Highland Park “one of the best baseball diamonds at the high school and amateur level in Indiana.”

Like Kitchell, Hockney has mixed feelings about realigning the field to address the short distance to the right field foul pole, saying he’d prefer to add a tall wall atop the right field fence, a la the famous “Green Monster” left field wall at Boston’s Fenway Park.

Installing something other than chain link for the outfield fence, perhaps even wood, and renovating the press box (“In fact, just tear out that whole back area” he added) would be good steps, Hockney said.

The huge bank of seats down the first base line presents an interesting problem.

The stadium was expanded for the American Legion series, but both Kitchell and Hockney expressed doubt that quite as many seats are needed.

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