In the past, Metro Bank Park occupied a prime piece of real estate on Harrisburg’s City Island, but the ballpark didn’t measure up to the location. To make things worse, it was prone to flooding. Instead of giving up on the old place, the city of Harrisburg and the Harrisburg Senators embarked on an ambitious ballpark makeover over two years that basically built a new ballpark on the old-ballpark location – and doing it while the Sens continued play at the site. The result is a comfortable and striking ballpark that finally measures up to the scenic location, making Metro Bank Park the clear choice for the 2010 Ballpark Renovation of the Year award from Ballpark Digest.
Ballpark renovations are becoming a commonplace occurrence in the baseball world, as it’s often more economical to renovate an older facility than build from scratch. Metro Bank Park is a clear example of a renovation done perfectly.
“Metro Bank Park is a ballpark where the small things are done very well, where the emphasis is on the fan experience under some fairly constricting circumstances: a small footprint at the ballpark site and the need to basically build a new ballpark while the team played in the old one for two seasons,” said Kevin Reichard, publisher of Ballpark Digest. “Both factors represented logistical challenges, to be sure: a decent budget helps, of course, but the Sens, the city and 360 Architecture managed to turn a flood-challenged, slightly uncomfortable ballpark into one of the best in Double-A, if not all of baseball.”
“It’s a tremendous honor for an Eastern League facility to be recognized by Ballpark Digest,” said Senators President Kevin Kulp. “I’m extremely pleased with the overall feel and enhanced amenities of Metro Bank Park. As proof, the new ballpark was embraced by our fans resulting in the Senators setting a new single-season attendance record. Our ballpark is one of the only stadiums located on an island and the design reflects our unique location on City Island. Metro Bank Park was designed to provide the City of Harrisburg not only great baseball venue but a place for the fans to have a fun and lasting experience. It is great to be recognized for our accomplishment.”
“We are very happy for the Senators and the City of Harrisburg,” said John Eyler, principal at 360 Architecture, the firm leading the design. “The owners deserve recognition for their vision and commitment to creating an exceptional experience for the team and its fans while celebrating a setting unlike any other in baseball. In every detail, Metro Bank Park is a special place that carries forward the rich tradition of baseball in Harrisburg.”
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Each year Ballpark Digest honors noteworthy accomplishments in the baseball world, whether it be Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, independent baseball, summer-collegiate baseball or college baseball. Readers are asked to submit nominations for awards in specific categories; Ballpark Digest editors then go though the submissions (numbering some 400 pages of documentation last year). The awards cover both individual accomplishments as well as team accomplishments. This is the fourth season for the Ballpark Digest Awards. A complete listing of Ballpark Digest Awards can be found at www.ballparkdigest.com/awards.
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