Work has begun on the cleanup of Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low Class A; Midwest League), after a fire destroyed 12 suites, a popular concourse and other ballpark space.
The cleanup involves saving what can be saved — mostly in the lower level of the ballpark — while tearing down brick walls on the concourse and building anew. Other parts of the ballpark are being treated for smoke damage. Plus, the team is looking at perhaps making changes to the burned-out area and not necessarily replicating what was there: for instance, the burned-out concessions area could be upgraded. Fifth Third Ballpark is a rather large ballpark, so there’s the chance to create some more intimate spaces in the damaged area.
“The goal is to have that whole bottom area (of the destroyed concourse) done so when you come to a game your experience isn’t hampered,” team spokesman Mickey Graham said.
That bottom area includes concession windows and restrooms that service the majority of fans who visit the park during the team’s 70-game home season. That area is currently in ruins.
Graham said the building shell of the upper area that includes 12 suites should be in place by opening day, but interior construction likely will continue into the season.
Images courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps.
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