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Second phase of Athletic Park renovations set for 2016

Wisconsin WoodchucksThe second round of renovations to Wausau’s Athletic Park, home of the Wisconsin Woodchucks (summer collegiate; Northwoods League), are set to begin after the end of the 2015 season.

Phase 2 will include a new full-service concession stand, a new group outing area and restrooms, and a complete renovation of the bleacher seating along the third-base side of Athletic Park. The project will add another 288 reserved seats with seatbacks and cup holders, a larger and modern concession stand, a group-outing area serving 175 guests and new, larger restrooms.

A Civilian Conservation Corps-funded and constructed facility that was once a longtime home to Midwest League and Wisconsin State League baseball (John Henry Moss, of all people, ran a Tigers farm team out of this ballpark for three seasons) after opening in 1936, Athletic Park been the home to Northwoods League baseball since the circuit was founded. As it stood, it was a smaller ballpark with a modest grandstand and bleacher seating. The first round of renovations came in time for the 2014 season opener, featuring new theater-style grandstand seating, new luxury boxes and upgraded concessions.

“Phase 2 will be a continuation of the renovation work that was completed on the grandstand in 2014,” said team owner Mark Macdonald. “The project will retain the historical feel of Athletic Park, but with comfortable seating options, a state-of-the-art concession facility and a group-outing area that will be a great option for entertaining clients, employees and friends.

“This next renovation will create a cultural asset that will be the pride of the City of Wausau and Central Wisconsin,” Macdonald added. “It will be one of the most interesting and beautiful outdoor event venues in the State of Wisconsin and the Northwoods League.”

Construction will begin after the conclusion of the 2015 season (approximately August 15, 2015) and be completed by the start of the 2016 season. The $3 million project will be financed by the Woodchucks. The Samuels Group will be the general contractor on the project, and it is expected that most of the supplies and labor will be supplied by companies located in central Wisconsin.

“Economic models have shown that construction projects can have an approximate two times multiplier; implying that this project will bring an additional $6 million of spending to Central Wisconsin,” Macdonald said. “The people of Central Wisconsin have been great supporters of the Woodchucks and I don’t want to see this money leaving Central Wisconsin.”

Since Macdonald purchased the team in 2012 he has invested over $6.5 million into Athletic Park.

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