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Michigan Town Goes Back to the Minors

Mon September 11, 2006 - Midwest Edition
Jim Boyle



By Jim Boyle

CEG ASSOCIATE EDITOR

When the Great Lakes Loons take to the field of the brand new multi-million dollar stadium in Midland, MI, audiences will witness amazing displays of true teamwork.

Residents of the central Michigan town won’t have to wait quite that long to see such a sight.

The inspired efforts of local contractors and crews to have the stadium ready in time for the 2007 Midwest League season are rousing testaments to authentic teamwork.

Midland residents have been buzzing about the 40,000-sq.-ft. ballpark since the Michigan Baseball Foundation (MBF) presented an artist’s rendering in January of the design by architectural firm HOK Sport of Kansas City, MO.

MBF successfully lobbied the Midwest League to add a minor league team from Midland to its ranks and will own and operate the Loons. The group made a concerted effort to keep the construction efforts a local affair, starting with the hiring of Three Rivers Construction Corporation as the general contractor.

Since then, subcontractors have been hired from Midland and surrounding communities, including Fisher Contracting Company for site development, Gerace Construction for precast concrete work, Walltek for segmented block wall ground around the park, 4d Brick & Block Inc. for supplying the block for the retaining wall and Fisher Sand and Gravel for the concrete supply.

Midland Engine Inc. is providing most of the equipment for the project. John Inman, sales manager for Midland, supplied Fisher Contracting with a Hyundai R450 LC-7 crawler excavator, a Hyundai HL760 4 yd. wheel loader, a Hyundai HL740 3 yd. wheel loader/tool carrier and rented it a Hyundai R140LC-7 crawler excavator.

Fisher also has relied on Bomag rollers and an offsite Powerscreen crusher.

The reliable equipment and the precise cooperation of each crewmember will keep the schedule on track for the stadium’s April 13, 2007, debut.

Located on downtown riverfront property owned by the Dow Chemical Company, the new field will feature approximately 3,500 permanent seats, lawn seating along the right field line and luxury suites.

Some obstacles arose from the riverfront site.

During site prep, several gas stations from the 1920s were discovered and discarded.

Dow also has a fiber optic cable network running through the middle of the site that cannot be interrupted, forcing operators to prevent heavy machinery from crossing its path.

The single A Great Lakes Loons will take the field in April 2007.

The team name and logo was unveiled Aug. 26, following a local contest. Randy Trudell and Shawn Zebrack submitted the name and received season tickets for their contribution, inspired by the bird’s population along the Michigan shoreline.