Friday, July 8, 2011

How The Other 3/4 Lives, Part II: Clipper Magazine Stadium

Clipper Magazine Stadium is a 6,000-seat baseball park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that hosted its first regular season baseball game on May 11, 2005, when the tenants of the facility, the Lancaster Barnstormers, lost to the Atlantic City Surf, 4-3. The ballpark also hosts the New Era Tournament for midget baseball and the Lancaster-Lebanon League high school baseball championship, and was the site of the 2008 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference baseball championship. In October 2008, the venue hosted vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, for the Road to Victory rally during the 2008 United States presidential election.

Clipper Magazine Stadium also serves as the corporate headquarters for the Opening Day Partners, the ownership group of the Barnstormers and three other Atlantic League teams.
The ballpark is named for Clipper Magazine, a local periodical company, which purchased the naming rights for $2.5 million over ten years.

Forty-four years before the opening of Clipper Magazine Stadium and the Lancaster Barnstormers' inaugural season, the Lancaster Red Roses entertained baseball enthusiasts for 20 years at Stumpf Field. Efforts for a new stadium and a new team began in 1987, and what was a long sixteen-year battle finally paid off with an announcement in 2003.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agreed to fund roughly half of the cost with Opening Day Partners and the city of Lancaster covering the remainder. The original plan in 2001 called for a proposed, $20-million ballpark to be constructed on the Diseley Farm site, across from Long's Park in Manheim Township. However, those plans were cancelled because of residential concerns about traffic and political concerns about the use of eminent domain and rezoning.

After this plan was terminated, most Lancaster County politicians preferred a downtown ballpark in order to revitalize a run-down neighborhood. The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Lancaster settled on an industrial site on the corner of North Prince and Frederick streets, where a company called Ace Rents existed. Initially, Ace Rents stalled the process, but quickly came to an agreement as they did not want to cause delay. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 28, 2004, and Clipper Magazine Stadium was finished just before it opened on May 11, 2005.

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