KOKOMO, Ind. — A flood-prone neighborhood near downtown Kokomo will become the site of a new $9 million baseball stadium under plans announced Monday by city officials.
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said he hoped the project would spur community pride while making use of an area that was hit by April 2013 flooding that damaged more than 300 homes around the central Indiana city as a storm front dumped up to 5 inches of rain.
The city's plan includes spending $2.5 million on flood-prevention measures such as retention ponds along Wildcat Creek, The Kokomo Tribune reported. The stadium design calls for about 2,300 seats, along with some 1,500 spots for lawn seating.
Goodnight said some semi-professional baseball leagues have expressed interest in having a team use the new stadium, but that it is primarily meant for use by high school and youth league teams. The stadium also is designed to hold a regulation-sized soccer field and could be used for concerts and other community events.
"This is a 50-year investment in our community," Goodnight said. "The youth in our community deserve nice places to play, too."
City Engineer Carey Stranahan said the project would include elevating the stadium above the flood plain level to prevent water from reaching it.
"We also have some subsurface drainage that will go to a storm sewer system and there will be a series of check valves to keep that water from coming back into the field," Stranahan said.
A public hearing is planned for May 27. If it wins final approval, stadium construction could start this summer and be ready for high school games in April 2015.
Rex Gingrich, a member of the city committee that recommended the project, said the stadium would be a positive development for the city about 40 miles north of Indianapolis.
"To have a stadium like this downtown to tie in with all of the other development with the new YMCA, the parking garage and the trail system, our city is going to become what we believe it can be," he said.