Veterans Memorial Stadium (Cedar Rapids)

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Veterans Memorial Stadium
VetsStadium.jpg
Location 950 Rockford Road SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404, United States
Broke ground June 13, 2001[1]
Opened April 7, 2002
Owner City of Cedar Rapids
Operator Cedar Rapids Baseball Club, Inc.[2]
Surface Grass
Construction cost $16.49 million[3]
($21.6 million in 2014 dollars[4])
Architect 360 Architecture (formerly Heinlein Schrock Stearns)
Leo Pfeiffer Architects
Structural engineer Martin/Martin, Inc.[5]
Services engineer Smith Seckman Reid, Inc.[6]
General contractor Estes Construction[2]
Capacity 5,300 (2007–present)[7]
6,000 (2002-2006)[7]
Field size Left field – 315 ft (96 m)
Left-center – 378 ft (115 m)
Center field – 400 ft (122 m)
Right-center – 390 ft (119 m)
Right field – 325 ft (99 m)
Tenants
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MWL)

Veterans Memorial Stadium is a minor league baseball stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is the home field of the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League. It is often called New Veterans Memorial Stadium to distinguish it from the original Veterans Memorial Stadium, which existed from 1949 to 2001.

Overview[edit]

Veterans Memorial Stadium is located southwest of downtown Cedar Rapids on Rockford Road. The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena and Kingston Stadium, home to Kennedy, Jefferson, and Washington high school football, are both adjacent to Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Veterans Memorial Stadium has a total seating capacity of 5,300.[7] It has 12 luxury suites and several sections that are reserved for group outings, including a mezzanine terrace in the upper deck behind first base, a pavilion in left field, and a pre-game picnic area.

In addition to Kernels games, Veterans Memorial Stadium hosted the Midwest League All-Star Game in 2004. On July 9, 2005, the stadium hosted its first concert, featuring Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. The American Legion World Series was held there in 2006. It is also occasionally used for high school and college baseball games, including the annual Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference baseball tournament. It hosted the annual "Corridor Classic" between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Northern Iowa Panthers until the University of Northern Iowa discontinued its baseball program.

The city of Cedar Rapids owns Veterans Memorial Stadium, which was named to honor veterans of all wars, and the city's Veterans Memorial Commission operates and maintains the stadium. The Linn County All Veterans Memorial is located next to the stadium. In March 2004 the Kernels and the city agreed to a new 40-year lease agreement that reduced the ballclub's monthly payments from the original 20-year agreement that they had signed when the new stadium opened.[8]

In March 2008 the Kernels sold the naming rights of the playing field to the Dale and Thomas Popcorn Company. The playing field was known as Dale and Thomas Popcorn Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium for the 2008 season.[9] The field was renamed Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium when Perfect Game USA, a baseball scouting company based in Cedar Rapids, bought the naming rights to the field in March 2009.[10]

History[edit]

The original Veterans Memorial Stadium was built in 1949 for the Cedar Rapids Rockets of the Central Association. It later became home to the Cedar Rapids Indians (1950–1952), the Cedar Rapids Raiders (1953–1957), and the Cedar Rapids Braves (1958–1961) of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League. From 1962 until its demolition, Cedar Rapids' Midwest League teams—which went through several name changes before becoming the Kernels in 1993—played their home games there.[11]

Playing field at the new Veterans Memorial Stadium, during a June 22, 2008, game against the Quad Cities River Bandits

During the 1990s, Veterans Memorial Stadium failed to meet many of Major League Baseball's new standards for minor league parks as newer facilities were opening in other Midwest League cities. On August 15, 2000, Cedar Rapids voters approved a referendum that helped provide some of the money needed to build a new ballpark adjacent to the old one. (Other funds came from the state of Iowa, the Kernels ballclub, and private donations.)[12] The last game at the old Veterans Memorial Stadium was played on August 28, 2001, with the Kernels defeating the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, 4–1.[13] The stadium was demolished shortly afterwards and the site now serves as a parking lot for the new stadium.

The new Veterans Memorial Stadium was dedicated on April 7, 2002, but that day's scheduled game against the Quad City River Bandits was rained out. The first games were not played until April 9, when the Kernels swept a doubleheader from the River Bandits, 5–4 and 3–0.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Rick (June 14, 2001). "Ground Broken for Kernels' New Park". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Stadiums Under Construction". SportsBusiness Journal. March 4, 2002. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ Smith, Rick (June 17, 2003). "Ballpark Cost Rose $1 Million". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). p. 1A. 
  4. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Dan Hartman - Experience
  6. ^ "Veterans Memorial Stadium". Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. Archived from the original on March 8, 2004. Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium". MWLGuide. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ Smith, Rick (March 9, 2004). "Vets Commission OK's Stadium Lease Extension". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). p. 2B. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  9. ^ Johnson, Jeff (March 12, 2008). "Kernels Sell Naming Rights to Field". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  10. ^ Foss, Justin (March 25, 2009). "Kernels Ballpark Gets New Name". KCRG (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  11. ^ Koolbeck, Mike (2001). "History of Cedar Rapids Professional Baseball". Cedar Rapids Kernels Souvenir Program. pp. 40–44. 
  12. ^ Smith, Rick (April 7, 2002). "Stadium Effort Began 7 Years Ago". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). p. 6 (special section). Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  13. ^ Hlas, Mike (August 29, 2001). "Fond Farewell Veterans Memorial Stadium". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). p. 1A. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  14. ^ Johnson, Jeff (April 10, 2002). "Kernel Magic". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). p. 1C. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°58′5″N 91°41′11″W / 41.96806°N 91.68639°W / 41.96806; -91.68639