Lake County minor league stadium site moved

Posted4/10/2010 12:01 AM

The much-anticipated stadium for the Lake County Fielders minor league baseball team is changing sites, less than two months from its planned home opener, a team spokesman said Friday.

Instead of being built at Green Bay Road and Ninth Street in Zion, the stadium will rise at the northeast corner of Green Bay Road and Route 173, the team and city officials announced in a joint news release.


Construction is set to begin next week, officials said.

Neither Delaine Rogers, Zion's director of planning and economic development, nor Mayor Lane Harrison were available to comment on the project Friday.

The new site is about a half-mile south of the old location, which was in the Trumpet Corporate Park.

Harrison had said no other site would work for the stadium because it was meant to be an amenity for the corporate park. But the ownership of the land was in doubt because of slow-coming state funding that was expected for the purchase.

The new site was chosen to speed up construction, Fielders spokesman Bernie DiMeo said.

It is owned by a group of real-estate developers and is leased to Grand Slam Sports & Entertainment, the Fielders' parent company, said Richard Ehrenreich, the firm's president. Eventually the site will be leased to the city.

The team may be able to play around the construction project, DiMeo said. Temporary bleachers could be built for fans during the work, he said.

With those concessions in mind, DiMeo said, the team "will certainly have a shot at the original date for the home opener," a June 11 game against the Gary SouthShore RailCats.

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As of last week, an estimated 3,000 tickets had been sold to the June 11 game. If seats aren't available as promised, ticketholders will be compensated, DiMeo said.

A 4,000-seat stadium has been planned for the Fielders. Retail shops, a movie theater, a restaurant and a banquet facilities also are part of the plan, the team's news release said.

In the news release, Harrison called the new site the "premiere home" for the project.

"The commercial appeal of this new location has attracted exciting new private investment, allowing for the project to expand," he said.

The team will play in the Northern League, which also includes the Schaumburg Flyers.

If all goes well, the stadium could be completed by the middle of July, DiMeo said. Additional work could follow, however, he said.