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Zion moves Fielders ballpark site; construction to begin next week

The site of a new Lake County Fielders ballpark is now a mile south of the original site; it will anchor a ballpark village with additional entertainment options.

Changing ballpark sites two months before the beginning of the season usually isn't the best of ideas, but the village of Zion (Ill.) and the Lake County Fielders (independent; Northern League) are moving the site of a new Fielders ballpark a mile south of the original ballpark site, according to a posting on the team's website.

The ballpark is now the centerpiece of a 23-acre development at the northeast corner of the Rt. 173 and Green Bay Road. Zion plans a "ballpark village," complete with retail shops, multi-screen movie theatre, and restaurant.

The site of the project is currently commercially zoned vacant land with sewer, water, road, traffic, and power infrastructure already self-contained, allowing construction to commence immediately, in contrast to the former location.

"The commercial appeal of this new location has attracted exciting new private investment allowing for the project to expand and it's really the premier home for this project for generations into the future" said Mayor Lane Harrison in a statement. "Plus, the addition of retail shops and a movie theatre will create an exciting year-round entertainment and shopping atmosphere, more jobs in our community, and attract further development in the area."

The ballpark will also contain a permanent concert stage and a banquet facility open all year.

"I applaud Mayor Harrison's long term vision for this project, and his uncompromising dedication to the quality of life for the residents in his community," said Fielders' President Rich Ehrenreich. "We've waited 20 years to see minor league baseball in Lake County, and it will all be worth the wait."

Still, the announcement left open many questions. You currently cannot buy tickets to a Fielders game in the beginning of the season (the home opener is scheduled for June 11), and we're guessing such a late beginning to the construction means the ballpark will not be ready for use until, say, late July or August. So where will the Fielders play at the beginning of the season? We suspect we'll be hearing some answers to that in coming days.

RELATED STORIES: Fielders make pitch for fans, sponsors; Work begins on new Zion ballpark; Fielders unveil ballpark renderings; New for 2010: The Lake County Fielders; Lake County final team names released; New Northern League franchise puts season tickets on saleWill Ehrenreich sell the Flyers?; Costner announces plans for Northern League team

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