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Cedar Rapids looking at a million in ballpark improvements–at least

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Cedar Rapids is looking at spending at least a million dollars on Veterans Memorial Stadium, as the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Low A; Midwest League) are hit with a double whammy of natural disaster and MiLB reorg.

Since the 2020 MiLB season was canceled, the August derecho that caused plenty of damage throughout Iowa didn’t make many headlines in the baseball world. The damage to Veterans Memorial Stadium was limited, but will end up being expensive: the portions of the home-run fence were blown down and will require repair, while a ribbon board and light pole will need to be replaced. The estimated cost all repairs is $1 million, as the city also looks at repairs to the adjoining hockey arena at a significantly higher price tag–at least $6 million.

Outfield walls at the ballpark were blown down, as was an electronic ribbon advertising board and a light pole beyond right-center field.

But the city isn’t releasing details about the repairs; also at hand are potential ballpark changes necessitated by the Minor League Baseball reorganization on tap for the 2021 season, which will include facility upgrades imposed by Major League Baseball. And while the Kernels have been talking with the city about ballpark upgrades to reflect these new facility guidelines, they won’t be ready to act until a final Player Development License is signed. From the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

“The city is excited about baseball, we are planning on putting together a season,” [city finance director Casey] Drew said. “Hopefully the timeline for the construction getting done will coincide with the beginning of the season. At that point and time, we anticipate bringing minor league baseball back to Cedar Rapids.”

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