It was inevitable, but a little sad anyway: the demolition of Cardinal Stadium, former home of the Louisville Redbirds (Class AAA; American Association), began today.
The facility, known as Fairgrounds Stadium when it opened in 1955, was home to pro baseball in Louisville between 1982 and 1999, when the team moved to Louisville Slugger Field and adopted the Bats moniker in 2002. It’s a huge place, a 47,000-seat football stadium where 19,000 baseball fans were crammed into one end of the facility. Over the years it’s served as home to University of Louisville football; since the team moved to Jim Patterson Stadium, the facility has been used mainly for concerts at the Kentucky State Fair and horse-related expositions.
But an engineering inspection found plenty of issues with the facility, and last summer Fair officials closed down the seating area and set up temporary seating for concerts and other events. With no mandate to fix up the stadium, the decision was made to tear it down. Demolition work begins today, but only the worse parts of the facility will be taken down, as money for the entire project still needs to be identified. From WKMS:
The entire stadium has fallen into disrepair and engineers hired by the state have recommended all of it be torn down. But Amanda Storment with the state fair board says the financing for that is not in place yet.
“We’ve estimated that just for demolition alone, it would cost $3 million to take the entire stadium down,” Storment said. “So that will wait on funding.”
Storment says a master plan is being put together for the entire fairgrounds facility that will include recommendations for the stadium space.
The demolition work will begin on the ballpark’s bleachers, with the remainder of work anticipated for 2015.