City OK's renovation fundraising to start for Carson Park stadium

Published: Mar. 14, 2017 at 10:25 PM CDT
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Out with the old, and in with the new. At least that's what members of the Carson Park Baseball Renovation group are hoping for, as they begin to fundraise stadium improvements at Carson Park.

Eau Claire Utility Manager Jeff Pippenger says the Parks and Recreation Department along with city council, approved the improvements to the baseball bleachers and artificial turf, with a 50% public, 50% private partnership in paying for the updates.

““I'm optimistic and I’m hopeful. I'd love to see that happen. The bleacher and the stadium improvements came up with an estimated cost of $2.5 million, so the fundraising effort we're looking for which is the 50% public/ private partnership would be $1.25 million,” says Pippenger.

Turf renovations weren't a part of the capital improvement plan until 2019, but if enough money is raised, the renovations could begin earlier.

“If fundraising is successful to the $1.75 million, then we would be looking at going ahead with the bleacher and stadium improvements plus the artificial turf,” says Pippenger.

According to fundraisers, this updated is more than needed.

“We've played in other placed that have turf field and have been pleasantly surprised. It plays very much like grass, the modern turf. One of the important part is the ability resume a game or start a game. It's an aggressive goal. We have competition for fundraising in this community... But i think we have a legitimate chance to get there,” says Mark Faanes, with the Eau Claire American Legion Baseball Association.

Pippenger says safety also comes into play with this renovation.

“Certainly if you've been out to Carson Park you can see the first and third base bleachers are over 50 years old, so we'd like to see an improvement with that. I have confidence in this group,” says Pippenger.

The renovations can't start until all of the private funds are raised, if the money isn't raised, it won't be picked back up until 2018.