Waukesha, WI officials are currently prioritizing a proposed summer-collegiate Northwoods League ballpark at Mindiola Park, but more amenities could be added to the site in the future.
Big Top Baseball and Waukesha continue to discuss a proposal for Mindiola Park, which calls for the construction of a 2,500-seat ballpark that would house a new team in the Northwoods League. The ballpark would be built as part of a $12-million project that includes new turf soccer fields, with Waukesha backing its financial contribution through the extension of an existing tax increment financing district.
Down the road, further work could take place at the park. In what is being billed as Phase 2, a future development could include seven additional soccer fields for various age groups and help the city attract more youth soccer tournaments. When discussing the proposal recently, Waukesha officials stated that they do not want to blend that phase of development into the ballpark component of the project, but expressed an interest in pursuing it after the new Northwoods League facility has opened and debt from the first phase is being paid off. More from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Echoing the words of Alderman Vance Skinner, who in the March 6 meeting of the common council championed the value of creating a major soccer complex in Waukesha, [parks director Ron] Grall said, “This definitely would be a game changer, in that respect.”
The parks board wasn’t asked to support Phase 2, at this point. The focus of the meeting remained on the initial baseball stadium/soccer plan and the public/private partnership with Big Top Waukesha.
For Wayne Merchle, parks board president, the idea to take Mindiola Park’s development one step at a time makes the most sense.
“I think it is definitely wise to think about the second phase of the project,” Merchle said. “This is just my own personal comment on the deal, but I think it would foolish to not do the (Big Top) project just because we wouldn’t do both phases at once. I know that there are some aldermen who said they want to do everything once, go big and do it right, but maybe we just need to get our foot in the door and see how it is going and then move on to the second phase.”
Prior to discussions on Mindiola Park, Big Top Baseball and Waukesha had mulled the construction of a new ballpark at Frame Park, but the two sides pulled the plug on that proposal last month, with public opposition to using the park a factor in that decision. Big Top Baseball currently operates the Madison Mallards, Kenosha Kingfish, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters and the Green Bay Bullfrogs.
RELATED STORIES: Waukesha Ballpark Pitch Moves Forward; Waukesha Ballpark Talks Shift to New Site; New Waukesha Ballpark is Not Moving Forward; Waukesha Continues to Debate Northwoods League Pitch; Waukesha Mulls Northwoods League Team, New Ballpark