BILLINGS, MT -- Representatives from the City of Billings, Minor League Baseball, the Billings Mustangs, American Legion Baseball and Montana State University-Billings have officially kicked off the construction of a new ballpark in Billings.
Pat O'Conner, VP of Minor League Baseball, and Pioneer League President Jim McCurdy came to Billings to participate in groundbreaking ceremonies at Cobb Field. They joined local officials as the first shovels of dirt were turned over just outside the ticket booth of Cobb Field.
This will be the final season for Cobb Field -- the home of the Mustangs since 1948. Voters in Billings have approved a $12.5 million bond issue to replace aging Cobb Field in time for the 2008 Pioneer League Season.
Wednesday's groundbreaking officially kicked off the construction of a new 3,500 seat stadium that is being designed by HNTB Architecture Inc. of Kansas City and CTA Architects and Engineers of Billings.
The first stage of the project is already underway and calls for the removal of Athletic Pool -- the city pool that sits just outside Cobb Field. A demolition crew is currently removing the concrete bowl of the pool.
The footprint of the new stadium will shift toward the intersection of North 27th Street and Ninth Avenue North, allowing construction crews to work in the area of the pool and the practice field without disturbing the Cobb Field grandstand or playing field.
The Mustangs will play the 2007 season in Cobb Field as work continues around the stadium. As soon as the Mustangs play the final game of this season, Cobb Field will be leveled and the project will continue in the former footprint of the ballpark.
Work is scheduled to be done in time for the Mustangs to play the 2008 season in the new ballpark.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.