The Beloit Snappers (Low A; Midwest League) are working on a new downtown ballpark plan to replace Pohlman Field, reacting to the potential loss of the team when the MLB/MiLB PBA expires in coming years.
That Pohlman Field does not meet current MiLB standards is no secret; the team has received waivers in recent years to continue play. And it’s also no secret that the team’s board of directors has been warned that the present situation cannot continue; the next MiLB/MLB agreement is unlikely to allow facilities to receive multiple and sequential waivers. The baseball front had been pretty gloomy in Beloit in recent years, but a March visit by MiLB President/CEO Pat O’Conner indicated optimism regarding the Snappers’ ballpark situation.
And there’s more optimism now, where the Snappers’ board decided to pursue a new downtown ballpark. It will probably require some outside investment to make it happen, and the name of a prominent Double-A owner has been quietly talked about in MiLB circles. From the Beloit Daily News:
“We reached an agreement and framed a resolution that we were going to pursue a downtown stadium,” [Team President Dennis] Conerton said. “We feel now the vibrancy and the momentum is downtown and we want to be a part of it. We’ve seen the excitement there. We received the endorsement of (Beloit) 2020 to become a part of the Fourth Street corridor project. We have a lot of things we need to build on.”…
A new stadium is needed, but it doesn’t need to be one of the best in minor league baseball. It just has to meet the upcoming requirements.
“It’s do or die time for us,” said Jim Agate, the Snappers’ stadium committee chairman and team vice president. “If the Snappers are going to stay in Beloit we have to do something. A facility like this downtown will bring so much more for our businesses. It can be a real key to attracting people to Beloit. We have to have things for people to do if we want to attract them.”
Indeed. Downtown ballparks are very trendy these days, and while there are signs of growth in downtown Beloit in recent years, the hope is that a new ballpark can bring further growth.
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