January 6, 2015

Play ball! Building of new stadium underway

Ground was broken for the $37 million minor league baseball stadium in Columbia Tuesday morning.

“Today is about embracing a vision that we, Columbia, can do so much more,” Mayor Steve Benjamin says.

Spirit Communications Park will be the name of the stadium located on the Bull Street campus of S.C.’s mental health facility.

This facility will be open 365 days a year, and when there isn’t a ticketed event, families will be able to use the playground beyond the outfield wall.

Populous Inc. is the group that’s building the stadium in Columbia, and have built many other stadiums across the country. Those stadiums include Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, and they are now working on the new Atlanta Braves Stadium.

The pricy budget has caused quite a stir in Columbia, but Mayor Benjamin says the stadium will bring thousands of jobs.

Mayor Benjamin also addressed the downtown traffic issue, and how that will affect the stadium.

“We aren’t concerned on the traffic. There will be congestion like any other event, but baseball games are usually held after the normal rush hours,” he says.

As for the team name, “Thousands of fans participated in the naming of the team contest held in the fall, and we will announce the name this spring,” Mayor Benjamin says.

Hardball Capital is relocating a minor league team they own to Columbia. The stadium is expected to open April 2016 in time for the new team to start that season.

Read more here.