Louisville Slugger Field
The Louisville Bats and the City of Louisville broke ground on Louisville Slugger Field back on November 13th. In front of a crowd estimated at about 1000, Mayor Jerry Abramson and Governor Paul Patton cut out the first home plate before they broke the ground with Bats President Gary Ulmer and other officials.
Miniature Louisville Slugger Bats were given to the first 500 guests. Architectural drawings of the new park and baseball memorabilia were on display and there was ball park food available--hot dogs, popcorn, caramel corn and soft drinks. "After this ground breaking, we are looking forward to the Bats throwing out the first pitch at Louisville Slugger Field in the spring of 2000," Mayor Abramson said. "All the elements of the ballpark that we envisioned when we first announced the project last year are included in the design." Patrons will enter the park at the concourse level through the restored "train shed" building, formerly the Brinly-Hardy warehouse.
Mayor Abramson said the ballpark would replicate the glory days of baseball. "We believe the combination of the historic train shed building and the modern, comfortable ballpark integrated with it will provide a feel and an aura that could not be replicated anywhere."
The design of Louisville Slugger Field is a joint effort of HNTB Architects of Kansas City, Mo., and K. Norman Berry and Associates of Louisville. The field will be financed through a partnership between the city, the Bats, Hillerich & Bradsby, the Brown Foundation, Human Inc. and the Humana Foundation.
The stadium which opened in April of 2000 seats over 13,000 and was built on the banks of the Ohio River, within one block of the Waterfront Park. A key designs feature is the integration of an historic rail freight depot in the over all project. Retaining and restoring the depot in the late 1800's, is a vital component of the new stadium. "The converted structure, which will encompass more than 62,000 square feet, will serve as the ballparks' front door and provide 22,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants. It's a tremendous opportunity to save a piece of historic architecture while giving this stadium a unique atmosphere."