The former home of the Columbus Clippers (Class AAA; International League) is no more, as the wrecking ball took down the 84-year-old ballpark this week.
Cooper Stadium, which opened in 1932, has sat empty since the Clippers move to a new downtown ballpark, Huntington Park, in 2009. Even before the Clippers moved there was a proposal from William Schottenstein and his development firm to buy the property and convert it to a racetrack and car-research facility.
This week a salvage crew took down the grandstand. Not many tears were shed for the old facility: city officials had sought an alternative use for the property, but the Arshot Investment proposal didn’t call for keeping the grandstand. In the end, most had a reaction similar to that from Clippers President/GM Ken Schnacke: it was better to tear down the old ballpark than let it decay into en eyesore. From the Columbus Dispatch:
Crews yesterday continued tearing down the indoor batting cage behind the grandstand along the first base line. A pile of concrete blocks and other rubble sat behind the stadium, exposing what had been a men’s restroom. Piles of metal from the roof lay across the seats behind home plate.
Plans call for the grandstand along the first-base line to be torn down as Arshot Investment Corp. converts the stadium into a half-mile racetrack, part of the $40 million Sports Pavilion and Automotive Research Complex, or SPARC. The track will seat 8,500.
Demolition will go on for 10 to 12 weeks, said Chris Hoff, vice president of construction for Lion Real Estate Services, which is overseeing the work.
Photo by Jim Robins.
RELATED STORIES: Cooper Stadium sale expected next week; Racing OK’d for former Clippers home; Racing proposal at Cooper Stadium draws opposition; Cooper Stadium renovation moves forward; Columbus grapples with future of Cooper Stadium
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