KOKOMO (May 12, 2014) – Kokomo’s mayor says it’s time to play ball.
A committee appointed by Mayor Greg Goodnight unanimously recommended building a new stadium in downtown Kokomo. The development project will also address flooding along the Wildcat Creek, the city revealed Monday morning. The flood mitigation component had been known beforehand, but the baseball stadium was kept largely under wraps.
“Unfortunately for decades, that area has not gotten the reinvestment that it’s needed,” said Goodnight. “We think it’s an important piece of our community property and it needs to be repurposed.”
The stadium would accommodate 4,000 people for baseball and other sports. It would have expanded seating for concerts and other special events.
“This is much more than a new baseball stadium,” said committee member Rex Gingerich. “This new baseball stadium is a major piece to the transformation of Kokomo… this is a game changer.”
But not everyone agrees.
Robert Griffith lives across the street from the ballpark site, and he doesn’t think people in his neighborhood were all that excited about the idea.
“I don’t think they really want a ball diamond, I’ll be quite honest,” said Griffith. “I think most people would like to have kept their homes.”
The $11.5 million project includes $2.5 million for flood mitigation and $9 million for the stadium, the city’s first since Highland Park Stadium was built in 1955. The stadium once served as home to the Kokomo Dodgers, a minor league affiliate for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Construction is set to start soon, and the stadium is scheduled to open in April 2015. Four Howard County high schools have already committed to playing there.