A new ballpark for the Kokomo Jackrabbits (summer collegiate; Prospect League) should open on time after Indiana Department of Homeland Security and FEMA signed off on the installation of synthetic turf before a May 30 opener.
The construction of the ballpark has been mired in red tape since planning began; IDHS and FEMA had argued that one of the intended uses of the facility — flood protection — was not adequately addressed in the building plans. Construction was delayed at one point, and the Indiana General Assembly even were part of the deliberations, with State Senator Jim Buck (R-Kokomo) introducing legislation that would allow IDHS and FEMA to issue a cease-and-desist order, halting ballpark work.
But other legislators didn’t agree that the ballpark construction should end, and the proposal to allow IDHS and FEMA to issue a cease-and-desist order died when the legislature adjourned. From Indiana Sports Journal:
As a result of Senate Bill 100 not being acted on during the 2015 legislative session, IDHS has given Kokomo the green light to place turf on the field of Kokomo Municipal Stadium
“Because of this extra scrutiny, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and FEMA took a long evaluation of our design plans and all of the aspects of it and they have agreed and permitted our plan on artificial turf and its design. They see the design plan on the turf is perfectly acceptable so in the next week or so you will see the turf go down. That gets us closer to the completion date, with a target of May 30 for the first Kokomo Jackrabbits game.”
Construction on downtown’s Kokomo Municipal Stadium is currently hitting a furious pace. With the field now leveled and ready for turf, other work crews are finishing the structure, installing light poles, improving infrastructure and installing seats – bright red seats visible from Apperson Way. Goodnight said SB100 did cause some construction delays and the anticipated start of the high school season in the stadium never materialized.
Whether or not the ballpark will be an efficient flood-management tool will be seen, but the current design is set up to prevent damages from a flood of the century: the ballpark’s concourse is five feet higher than levels of the last record flood, and if the design works as anticipated, water should flow past the ballpark and into a retention pond.
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