Ray Winder Field, the historic former home of the Arkansas Travelers, would be preserved and incorporated into a new University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences building under a unique plan pitched by local preservationists.Ray Winder Field, the historic former home of the Arkansas Travelers (Class AA; Texas League), would be preserved and incorporated into a new University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences building under an imaginative plan pitched by local preservationists.
A little background: the city of Little Rock wants to get rid of the ballpark, which opened in 1932, as it’s unused since the Travs moved to Dickey-Stephens Park. An attempt to sell the property to the highest bidder was negated becauase of poor procedures in the process; the city then decided to go through another bidding process.
Three groups emerged as the possible buyers for the property: the University of Arkansas, who would eventually use the ballpark as a parking lot; the Little Rock Zoo, which would keep the grandstand as part of an expansion; and a local preservationist group. UAMS won the first flawed round of bidding and is in a position to win the second.
Since UAMS doesn’t know what it wants to do with Ray Winder Field, the local preservationist group (spurred on, we think, by some implicit support from UAMS officials) wants to see UAMS win the bidding and then keep the playing field intact while keeping the old grandstand as part of a new, larger building. These meldings of old and new are common in the preservationist world, though we’ve not seen it done before in a ballpark. (Correct us if we’re wrong.) A local architect has already done some sketches as to what a new building would look like.
Best of all, it would allow baseball to be played at Ray Winder Field for years to come.
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