Officials break ground on new Clippers stadium

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Children waited for their chance to hug Columbus Clipper mascots Lou Seal and Krash. As the temperature climbed, members of the community gathered on a dusty vacant lot on Neil Avenue downtown.

President and CEO of Nationwide Brian Ellis asked the audience to imagine the greatest minor league baseball stadium in the country. He said the Clippers’ new home will have features comparable to Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

The new venue, situated across from Nationwide Arena, will hold ten thousand people.

City officials say the stadium will trigger additional development in the downtown area.

The city is paying for close to a fifth of the 55 million dollar project. Mayor Michael Coleman says Huntington Park will attract private dollars

“I can tell you that the 30 or so million dollars that we invested in the arena district has now resulted in a half a billion dollars of private investment. The 9 million dollars that we have invested right here is going to result in another 70 million dollars in private investment right here. That’s just the building,” he said. Franklin County Board of Commissioners President Mary Jo Kilroy says the new stadium will bring families and young professionals to the downtown area.

“It’s going to be accessible by all modes of transportation. You can walk here. You can hop on a bus. You can park a car with low cost parking. A great opportunity for families to come out and enjoy a great game of baseball,” she said.

The field will take form next fall and the park is slated to open April of 2009.