As the city of Frisco (TX) continues to grow and evolve, construction crews can be seen all over town including Dr Pepper Ballpark, home of the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League). Multiple improvements are made to the park each year including last season’s 2,763-square-foot HD video board, new sound system, new video control room, expanded team store, and Bull Moose Saloon, which we named the Best Ballpark Renovation in the under $6 million category. This offseason was no different as changes included new safety netting that extends to the ends of both dugouts and a lazy river, which received attention from news outlets across the country and for good reason.
The lazy river area being constructed is 12,000 square feet including two islands, a deck that will go all the way across the area, several cabanas, and two giant water curtains that are 25 feet high and 22 feet across. They will drop a 20 foot wide, 18 foot high wall of water. The lazy river itself is about 174 feet long with 400 feet of circulation, just nine feet shy of the distance from home plate to the center field wall.
General partner and chief executive officer Chuck Greenberg was excited as he walked through the construction zone explaining all the team has planned for the new area.
“We’re going to initially limit it to 200 people in the area to make sure it’s a great experience. Once we get the hang of operations for games, we’ll have Vegas-style pool parties,” Greenberg said. “One of the things we want to have to add to the experience are spotters that will be young men and women with fishing nets to catch home run balls like the one [RoughRiders’ outfielder] Preston Beck hit out here. We think it would be fun for fans.”
Greenberg added that the area would also be available for events on non-game days and add a new element to the organization.
“I really see this transforming the nature of our business to being a hospitality company that plays 70 baseball games,” Greenberg said. “This park with all the improvements we’ve made is so extraordinary and offers fans such an incredible experience that there’s no reason that on the other 295 days a year we can’t put it to good use for the enjoyment of the community and that’s what we intend to do.”
Construction is currently on-schedule and the new lazy river is scheduled to open on June 11th.
“If we don’t have rain like we did last year with the record rainfall, we’re looking good,” Greenberg said. “We’re right on schedule. Gold Medal Pools from Frisco is doing a great job with the construction and so far, so good.”
The scope of the lazy river has grown tremendously from Greenberg’s original idea of a giant swimming pool with an infinity edge.
“We’re in one of the largest, most sophisticated markets in the country so I wanted something that was completely unique and would be the signature visual element of the park and you’d never get used to seeing,” Greenberg said. “When I saw the drawing, I asked if they could add islands. The architect said sure. We bounced ideas back and forth and it evolved into a lazy river.”
The lazy river will probably be one of the largest pool areas in sports eclipsing both the Arizona Diamondacks’ Chase Field and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field but Greenberg said he’s more excited for the fans to experience a fun and unique experience at the ballpark.
“This is such a dynamic community that we’re fortunate to be apart of. There’s so much growth and so many companies and individuals that are moving into the area that it gives us unlimited possibilities with what we can do,” Greenberg said. “We never get tired of trying to entertain our fans. We never get tired of trying to come up with new ideas to capture everybody’s fancy and in this instance to work as a group to come up with something that is truly unique and first of its kind. To have everybody so excited about it is one of the things that keeps us coming back for more.”