A jewel of a baseball diamond: Dickey-Stephens Park gets finishing touches for April 12 opening day.ONE OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS' OLDEST WARM-weather attractions is set to become its newest, as construction crews put the finishing touches finishing touches finish npl the finishing touches → der letzte Schliff
finishing touches npl → ultimi ritocchi mpl on Dickey-Stephens Park Dickey-Stephens Park is a new stadium in North Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. It is primarily used for baseball and serves as the home for the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League. The fixed seat capacity of the ballpark is 5,800 people. .
Meanwhile its future tenants, the Double-A Arkansas Travelers
The Arkansas Travelers, also known informally as The Travs, are a minor league baseball team based in North Little Rock, Arkansas. ball club, is packing up the remnants of 75-yearold Ray Winder Field Ray Winder Field is a stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is primarily used for baseball, and was the home field of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team. It was built in 1932. It holds 6,083 people. , the historic midtown mid·town
A central portion of a city, between uptown and downtown.
US & Canad the centre of a town Little Rock diamond with an undecided future, to slide into its nearly $40 million home on the North Little Rock riverfront riv·er·front
The land or property along a river. in time for opening day April 12.
"There was a lot of talk about leaving history behind at Ray Winder and understandably so," said Bill Valentine, the Travelers' long-time general manager. "All of that is erased when you step foot [in Dickey-Stephens Park], and I think the fans will agree. It's time It's Time was a successful political campaign run by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) under Gough Whitlam at the 1972 election in Australia. Campaigning on the perceived need for change after 23 years of conservative (Liberal Party of Australia) government, Labor put forward a for a new era and it begins with the completion of one of the best ballparks in the country."
The rebirth re·birth
1. A second or new birth; reincarnation.
2. A renaissance; a revival: a rebirth of classicism in architecture. is contagious, evident by the playful tones exuded by representatives of the three entities that made it happen--the Travelers, the city of North Little Rock and the Stephens family--as they toured the park last week.
"This is like a dream come true," said North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays, as a game of catch broke out with Valentine on the freshly installed grass. "The lights of this park alone will be a magnet for tourism and community togetherness. This far exceeds what we had originally envisioned."
Little Rock financier Warren Stephens, who donated 11 riverfront acres for the project and has also pitched in with a first-class $1.2 million scoreboard, can look down from the Stephens Building's board room windows onto the project bearing the name of his uncle, Witt, and father, Jack, along with former Major Leaguers George and Bill Dickey William Malcolm Dickey (June 5, 1907 – November 12, 1993) was a professional baseball player and manager. One of the most famous catchers in Major League history, he played his entire career with the New York Yankees, with whom he appeared in eight World Series and won seven .
"We can't quite see down into all parts of the stadium, but there's no doubt the view from up there has gotten a lot of attention from those interested in the project," said Frank Thomas Frank Thomas may refer to:
In With the New
One of the few things Dickey-Stephens has in common with its archaic--yet beloved--predecessor is the intimacy it provides baseball fans.
"There isn't one seat in here that's higher or farther away from the field than Ray Winder," said Pete Laven, assistant general manager for the Travs. "It was important for us to keep that intimacy and work that into the design however we could."
There are 5,800 fixed seats at Dickey-Stephens, compared with 6,083 at Ray Winder, but outfield grass berm berm: see beach. seating and friendlier standing-room-only platforms and nooks will comfortably provide for at least 2,000 more. Laven said the new park could probably squeeze in 10,000 if necessary.
There are also several areas available for private group rentals, including a pair of outdoor picnic areas, a party deck extension from the skyboxes on the first-base line and an indoor "Dickey Room" that will provide climate-controlled seating.
Bleacher bums Bleacher Bums is a 1977 play written collaboratively by members of Chicago's Organic Theater Company, from an idea by actor Joe Mantegna. Its original Chicago production was directed by Stuart Gordon. will also notice an upgrade as there's a beer garden with picnic seating behind the first-base bleacher bleach·er
1. One that bleaches or is used in bleaching.
2. An often unroofed outdoor grandstand for seating spectators. Often used in the plural. section, which will be the only smoking area in the park. The famous bleachers at Ray Winder Field were along the third-base line.
Among the indoor features lining the concourse is an enclosed gift shop that will allow the team to upgrade many of its clothing and memorabilia options, though--"for old times' sake," said Laven--the souvenir stand will also mirror Ray Winder Field's quaint window walk-up service from the concourse.
A small Travelers museum off the concourse will display historical memorabilia, trophies and photographs.
"Valentine's" is the expected name of a full-scale dine-in restaurant on the concourse that will be open every game day and remain open Tuesdays through Saturdays during the off-season and road trips.
Among the 24 luxury suites, the Travelers have reserved two that will be available by reservation, either as a single or a double, with the option of also adding the outdoor party deck extension. Suite rental is $600 for a single, and $1,000 for the double, which does not include food and beverages F&B is a common abbreviation in the United States and Commonwealth countries, including Hong Kong. F&B is typically the widely accepted abbreviation for "Food and Beverage," which is the sector/industry that specializes in the conceptualization, the making of, and delivery of foods. .
The suites, obviously, are a major revenue boost for the Travelers. Leasing was done by offering either three- or five-year deals to ensure longer-term income. Three-year leases are $29,000 per year and five-year leases are $26,000 per year. All of the skyboxes are spoken for, said Laven. Hays said all but three or four of the leases are five-year deals, and that an early gamble is paying off.
"When we went around to look at other Minor League ballparks around the country, they all said they were either adding suites or had a waiting list, so we went with a higher amount than what is common," said Hays. "We obviously took a bit of a leap of faith on having more suites, but that leap of faith has proven to be justified because they're all gone."
The price of the boxes often ends up being about half of the tab for renters, as food and beverages have to be ordered on premises. Suites include an upgraded menu, a hostess throughout the game, air conditioning air conditioning, mechanical process for controlling the humidity, temperature, cleanliness, and circulation of air in buildings and rooms. Indoor air is conditioned and regulated to maintain the temperature-humidity ratio that is most comfortable and healthful. , cable television, a radio broadcast of the game, a sink and refrigerator, a couch, a table and four chairs, and an outdoor patio of box seats. A private elevator will take suite holders up to the second level, exclusive to those with suite tickets.
The cost of the ballpark to taxpayers and the Travelers has grown by almost $5 million since Hays turned to residents to help foot the bill in the form of a two-year, 1 percent sales tax sales tax, levy on the sale of goods or services, generally calculated as a percentage of the selling price, and sometimes called a purchase tax. It is usually collected in the form of an extra charge by the retailer, who remits the tax to the government. in August 2005. At that time--before Hurricanes Rita and Katrina hit, Hays notes--the ballpark's tab to the taxpayers was expected to ring up at nearly $28 million. Including the riverfront property, and other donations, along with the nearly $5 million extension, the total tab of the ballpark come opening day will end up being closer to $40 million, said Hays.
Multiyear suite agreements and healthy season ticket sales so far have Hays and Valentine confident that boosted revenue will help quickly pay down an additional $4.3 million contingency granted by the North Little Rock City Council.
"We still have a month-and-a-half or so to go, and we plan on selling a lot more season tickets," Valentine said. "We've just about sold all the signage except for a marquee out front, so we're not having problems getting people on board."
The Travelers and the city of North Little Rock split revenue in half, and Hays said the Travelers will annually take out operating and maintenance expenses and apply the rest toward paying the debt.
Initially, the Travelers and the city have projected operating expenses Operating expenses
The amount paid for asset maintenance or the cost of doing business, excluding depreciation. Earnings are distributed after operating expenses are deducted. to run between $1 million and $2 million, with very few maintenance fees because of the park's newness.
"Based on a 3,500 to 4,000 average attendance, we could expect somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 to $4.5 million gross revenue, which would give us maybe a couple million a year based on a conservative estimate," said Hays. "We're confident that the extra money we put in now to keep this as an A-plus, top-of-the-line facility will translate into good revenues to retire the debt."
The nearly $4.5 million overage Overage
Apples mainly to convertible securities. Difference between how much common stock one party must sell and the other wishes to buy for the same amount of convertible in a swap. should cover the finishing phases of the stadium, but Hays warns that if the contingency funds are eaten up before opening day and the project goes over the current authorized budget, another $300,000 to $400,000 may be needed.
"We're not looking at a killer, and we're hoping the contingencies are not all used, but we're also dedicated to doing this right," said Hays.
As with any major construction project, there have been some oversights.
The most high-profile gaffe will be noticeable throughout the inaugural season, but will be corrected "definitely before the first pitch in 2008 and maybe before the final pitch of 2007," said Hays.
A clock tower is the focal point focal point
See focus. of the stadium's entrance and overall architecture, keeping with the park's railroad theme in a city where Union Pacific is the largest employer. The clock tower has four sides, but only one clock face was ordered and will be displayed this season, greeting fans entering the park.
"We spent half a million to a million for a clock tower and that's a main focal point and it's only one-quarter completed; I consider that a big deal," said Hays.
"But in the long run, if this ends up being the least of our problems, I think we can live with that, so long as we get it fixed."
Construction crews still have some work ahead of them, including the addition of the outfield wall, which will in some spots be as low as four feet in front of the bullpen area in right-centerfield, much like Boston's famed Fenway Park
• • [ . Six massive light poles and fixtures were being installed last week, along with fixed seating, signage, locker rooms and restroom facilities.
"I'm just glad we have the field down and out of the way," said Laven. "The rest will get done."
The team called in a specialist with Major League Baseball's Chicago White Sox The Chicago White Sox are a professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox are a member of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the White Sox have played in U.S. to design the drainage system Noun 1. drainage system - a system of watercourses or drains for carrying off excess water
system - instrumentality that combines interrelated interacting artifacts designed to work as a coherent entity; "he bought a new stereo system"; "the system consists of a , and another specialist from the Charlotte (N.C.) Knights, a Triple-A affiliate of the White Sox, was in charge of getting the grass down.
"It's the finest drainage system and field that's been installed anywhere in probably a decade," said Valentine. "It couldn't be any better."
On the web
Slideshow: A Day at the Park
TO see a slideshow of more pictures of the ne Dickey-Stephens Park, visit: Arkansasbusiness.com/Travs.
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