The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Renovations delayed for Carson Park

Chris Kemp

Fans of the new Eau Claire baseball team, Eau Claire Express, soon will be able to enjoy watching the game even more, Express Assistant General Manager Jeremy Hinde said.

With the addition of the new city baseball team, a few new additions will be made to Carson Park facilities as well.

“Pretty much all of the changes we have proposed are fan friendly,” Hinde said. “It’s just something to help the fans out and make their experience at the park a lot more fun.”

The changes to Carson Park include a five-tier fan deck along the right field corner, foul poles, improvements to the scoreboard and installation of a permanent structure that includes concessions, rest rooms and a VIP seating area, Hinde said.

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The fan deck is an area where fans can pay $20 for unlimited beer, soda, brats and hot dogs while watching the game.

He said the fan deck is just about finished and will be open for the start of the new season.

“(Our fan deck) will be pretty elaborate,” Hinde said. “It’s a fun area and a unique way to watch the game.”

The other proposed changes will not begin as of yet. The City Council voted 9-0 Tuesday to hold off granting the contract until sometime next year because of cost problems and time issues.

City Council member Ray Hughes said the Council rejected the bid because Express did not have enough funds to cover the bid and the city taxpayers will not be spending any money toward its efforts.

The bid came back a lot higher than Express had anticipated from the estimates the team had received from contractors.

“We’re still very supportive of them,” Hughes said. “They still have to come back now and re-bid it or we’ll re-bid it or they’re going to have to come back with modifications.”

Phil Fieber, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, said he wasn’t surprised by the vote to halt construction.

“I think everyone’s disappointed that it’s not going to happen in time for this year’s season, but it’s also understandable,” he said. “The costs of construction projects have really gone up.”

Hinde said some of the parts for the renovation wouldn’t have been available until June, which would interfere with the season.

Fieber said the renovations are necessary because of the fans – a few thousand – Express is expecting to bring.

The costs to cover the construction will come from Express, but it is the city who puts out the bid.

“The plan is drawn out by the Express and then whatever the project costs, the team will then reimburse the city,” Fieber said. “The Express has talked about making nearly a quarter of a million dollars in improvements at Carson Park.”

He said the project will be phased in during a 4- to 5-year period.

“Anybody who plays at the stadium will be able to use them,” Fieber said. “Basically the Express is making a contribution to the community. All the teams will be able to enjoy the benefits.”

Senior Kyle Buchmann, coach of the UW-Eau Claire club baseball team, said he thinks the additions to Carson Park will be great and hopes it will bring a larger fan base to their games.

“I think it’s going to be a great new stadium,” he said. “It will be a great new place to watch baseball.”

Although Hinde said he is unsure when the rest of the project will begin, sometime next year or this fall, he said he’s really looking forward to having it completed.

“Carson Park is beautiful. It’s a really awesome park,” he said. “We just hope this will add to it and make it even better.”

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Renovations delayed for Carson Park