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New Lafayette Ballpark Breaks Ground

Loeb Stadium rendering 2019

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday for a new ballpark at the Loeb Stadium site, a step toward a planned 2021 opening for the Lafayette Aviators (summer collegiate; Prospect League) and other events.

Lafayette, IN officials have been planning to build a new ballpark at the site of Loeb Stadium, which first opened in 1940. The project calls for tearing down Loeb Stadium and effectively flipping the diamond, placing the new ballpark’s grandstand in what’s now past center field. The new ballpark–which is expected to cost around $20 million–will be smaller than Loeb Stadium, seating only about 2,000, with a synthetic turf to allow more use in a longer season.

On Tuesday, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site, giving city officials the opportunity to tout the importance of the upcoming ballpark. More from the Journal & Courier:

“We’re getting ready to start a new chapter in the history of baseball for Lafayette,” said Claudine Laufman, superintendent of the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department….

Everything lined up and the result will be a showcase gateway to the city – with a façade at the corner of Main Street and Wallace Avenue – moving through Five Points and into the downtown area.

“It’s been a long journey, but Loeb Stadium deserves that,” mayor Tony Roswarski said. “It’s a rich, rich important piece of our history, an important piece of this community.”

No baseball at Loeb Stadium in 2020 as Lafayette Jeff and the Aviators must find new homes. The Bronchos are scheduled to play all road games; the Aviators will spend next summer at Purdue’s Alexander Field.

Loeb Stadium has a unique history that includes a period as a host for affiliated minor-league baseball, and even spring training. The Cleveland Indians held spring training there from 1943-1945, when wartime travel restrictions forced teams to train locally instead of in warmer-weather climates.

The Aviators began playing at Loeb Stadium in 2016, and the facility has also hosted high school baseball and the Colt World Series. Construction of the new ballpark is expected to conclude before the Aviators begin their 2021 season.

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