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Leaders, Fans Celebrate Wade Stadium Renovations

Updated: 09/02/2014 10:44 PM
Created: 09/02/2014 4:27 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

With a row of gold-painted shovels, a fresh start for an old favorite.

"This has been a long time coming and it's very exciting that this project is now taking off," Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon said.

She's talking about construction underway at Wade Stadium in Duluth. There was a ground breaking ceremony Tuesday.

"A lot of memories in the stadium, this is one of the last remaining WPA stadiums in this country," Mayor Don Ness said.

The $4.6 million in renovations was made possible because of state bonding money. The state is paying for half and the city matched it.

"This is a project the city has been promoting at the state legislature for several years now," Duluth Communications Director Dan Fanning said.

One of the biggest changes fans will notice is the new artificial field. Fanning said that means fewer games will be canceled because of weather. That's something fans are excited about.

"They have to make them up or make them up in another town which isn't good for us," fan Darlene Fedler said.

Other upgrades include new lighting, scoreboard and tuck pointing.

"The rug will be installed sometime in early October and hopefully we will be complete sometime before the snow flies," Property and Facilities Manager Erik Birkeland said.

A fast turnaround for spring; that's something fans are happy about.

"This is a wonderful thing," fan Eddie Gleeson said. "It's a beautiful ballpark and it's mixing the old with the new."

"Every time we were turned down, my heart was broke," fan Fedler said. "This time we got some money; we're going to do something with it and I'm just tickled pink."

Not a baseball fan? Well, there's still some good news. The artificial turf will allow more events and different sports to use Wade Stadium.

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