With the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League) set to move to a new suburban ballpark, Salt Lake City is soliciting citizen input on the team’s current home, Smith’s Ballpark.
Ballpark reuse is a tricky subject; ballparks are very specifically configured for a single purpose, so we often see old ballparks either torn down or used for a lower level of ball once a tenant leaves. (Indeed, the summer-collegiate baseball industry largely exists because of the availability of a good number of available former MiLB ballparks.) Sure, there are a few instances of a creative reuse of a ballpark–the conversion of Indianapolis’s Bush Stadium from a closed ballpark to an apartment complex is a unicorn of sorts–but such a reuse is a challenge. (We did cover a success story on the reuse front on sister site Soccer Stadium Digest today, when we covered the conversion of Joe Davis Stadium, former home of the Huntsville Stars, from a ballpark to a soccer facility. We were also part of a story from the San Francisco Chronicle on the potential reuse of the Oakland Coliseum when the Oakland A’s inevitably move to a new ballpark.)
That’s why Salt Lake City was a little brave to open the discussion up to the public vote, asking them to choose from a submitted plans. Sports still seems to be a big option for the ballpark, even sans baseball. Take a look at the submitted plans here; some of the ideas are intriguing, such as converting the ballpark to a women’s sports complex or an amphitheater a la the former home of the Bridgeport Bluefish.
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