WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –
Like a baseball manager getting ejected by an umpire, so the city of Wichita is ready to eject Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
“What we recognize now is there’s really nothing to save over there,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell. He said the stadium’s infrastructure is in bad shape including the plumbing. He says the stadium concrete is crumbling. He wants to have a ground breaking next year.
Lawrence-Dumont was a “Works Projects Administration” project during the great depression, opening in 1934.
Longwell said, “We are in the process of putting together all of the finance packages needed to build a new Lawrence Dumont Stadium,” Longwell said.
He said Star Bonds will be used in the financing. He said the next step is to hire an architect to move forward with plans.
Longwell said the city wants to build a National Baseball Congress museum to be open year-round and include a restaurant.
Longwell indicated the probability of not having professional baseball for a season.
“We don’t know yet if we’re going to lose a season in 2018 or 2019,” he said. “So we don’t have that schedule laid out for us just yet, in terms of, do we lose a baseball season?”
That’s while a stadium is under construction.
But as for the National Baseball Congress games Longwell said, “What we would do is move the NBC to another facility. And so we would not lose a season for the NBC. We may have to move them to another venue for one year.”
He said the most logical place for the NBC tournament games to be played is on the Wichita State University campus in Eck Stadium, while a new Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is being built.
City Council Member and NBC Board Member Lavonta Williams said, “We are looking forward to being in a new stadium. But the thing we’ll have to look at is where we can temporarily play and right now Wichita State is a great avenue for us to look at.”
A new stadium could lead to an affiliation with a major league baseball team said Longwell.
“We believe there are multiple opportunities and we’ve already talked to multiple teams. We are just in the beginning stages of those conversations also. It’s exciting. It’s great to see baseball at a level we haven’t been accustomed to in a while.”