Huntington Park on Schedule, County Commisioner Says

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These Clippers seats at Cooper Stadium will be empty next spring when the minor league baseball team moves to the new Huntington Park
These Clippers seats at Cooper Stadium will be empty next spring when the minor league baseball team moves to the new Huntington Park

The Columbus Clippers baseball team will play one last season in Cooper stadium beginning Thursday night. The team is expected to move to the new Huntington Park stadium downtown a year from now.

On the field at Cooper Stadium Wednesday afternoon the clippers practice for the season opener.

The Clippers take on the Charlotte Knights Thursday evening at 7. The field they’re playing on is 75 years old. The stadium had its last major renovation in 1977.

Next year the Triple A team moves into new quarters at Huntington Park in Columbus’s arena district. Though no opening date has been set, Clippers president Ken Schnacke says construction of the new park is on schedule.

“We think things are going fine. Turner Construction is in charge of it; they’re doing a wonderful job,” Schnake says. “They were prepared for this bad winter, they had everything in place. We have really lost no work time at all.”

Groundbreaking for the $56 million project took place last August. Original plans called for the ballpark’s opening in 2008. But environmental clean-up at the site where a gas station once stood delayed the project. The awarding of several construction contracts by the Franklin County Commission, which owns the team, has also been contentious. But commissioner Paula Brooks says the legal challenges are not slowing the timetable.

“The vast majority of contracts have been entered into and have proceeded,” Brooks says. “We’ve had a few blips on the radar screen but everything’s on schedule, on budget. There’s still a lot of work to do but I have confidence that we’re going to get it done on time.”

Ken Schnacke says fans and players will appreciate the finer amenities at Huntington Park. He calls it the Camden Yards of Triple A baseball.

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