The City of St. Paul has an update to its Lowertown Ballpark project and, as promised, it's giving the park a new look. The rendering above has a look at the park with downtown St. Paul in the background.
Here's a daytime version of the same ballpark:
And yes, that's a pig standing at the top of the stands, mugging for the virtual camera. It's the Saints mascot.
The new renderings are the latest in a series of developments on the $54 million ballpark project this spring.
Abatement of the hazardous materials in the Diamond Products building started April 15 -- contractors are removing fluorescent bulbs, asbestos, oils and PCBs left behind from years of manufacturing on the site. It'll take about six weeks to get all the hazardous materials out, and the cavernous 650,000 square foot building is scheduled to be demolished starting in July.
The demolition is expected to run through August, and soil remediation, utility relocation and grading will go on all summer and into the fall. If that all goes as expected, construction on the actual ballpark is scheduled to start in December.
The new design will run about $1.7 million to draw up and is expected to include:
Bicycle & pedestrian trail connections
Improved ADA accessibility
East & west entrances
The city is also wrapping up work on its environmental assessment worksheet on the project -- including a study of the controversy sparked by the city's use of the parking lot just to the north of the Diamond Products building.
Critics say the ballpark itself will wipe out more than 300 low-cost parking spaces, including dozens now used by Market House condominium residents, right across Wall Street from the stadium site. They say the stadium could force residents to walk for blocks between their homes and cars.
The city, on the other hand, says there are 7,500 other parking spaces in Lowertown, and sums up the situation thusly: "The amount of parking that already exists is more than enough to handle people coming to events at the ballpark, current Lowertown residents, office workers and local businesses, and new businesses and residents."
The city says some other details of the stadium are still getting worked out, including design of the dugouts, concession stands and family areas. If all goes well, construction will be substantially complete in the winter of 2014, and St. Paul Saints will throw their first pitch to a visiting batter in 2015.
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