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Huntington Park (Columbus, Ohio): Map

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Huntington Park is the new home of the Columbus Clippers, a Triple-A minor league baseball team in the International League currently affiliated with the Cleveland Indians. Groundbreaking for the new ballpark took place on August 2, 2007, with construction being completed in April 2009. Designed by 360 Architecture, the 10,000-seat stadium is part of a US $56 million project. The new stadium is at the corner of Neil Avenue and Nationwide Boulevard in the Arena Districtmarker of Columbus, Ohiomarker and replaced the Clippers' former home, Cooper Stadiummarker (1977-2008). In February 2006, the naming rights for the park were purchased by Huntington Bancshares Inc.marker for $12 million over 23 years. On April 18, 2009, the park opened to the public, with the Columbus Clippers playing the Toledo Mudhens in the stadium's first game. On August 12, 2009, Huntington Park was named the Ballpark of the Year by Baseballparks.com, beating out all other new or significantly renovated baseball stadiums in the country, including such Major League parks as the new Yankee Stadiummarker and the New York Mets' new Citi Fieldmarker. The award is given to the new stadium with the "best combination of superior design, attractive site selection and fan amenities," according to Baseballparks.com.

Construction Issues

The selection of the construction firms to build the ballpark was a contentious issue. On November 5 2007, Lithko Contracting of Hamilton, Ohiomarker filed suit against Franklin County. At issue was the fact that the contract for pouring concrete was awarded to Baker Construction despite Lithko's bid coming in $17,500 lower. It was alleged that the Franklin County Commissioners had favored Baker over Lithko because Baker employed union labor and Lithko did not. Because the Commissioners did not want to face delays due to a lawsuit, they awarded the contract to Lithko on November 9 2007.

The county was subsequently sued two more times by firms after they were denied the contracts despite being low bidders. In those cases, the county rejected the low bid due to allegations of "prevailing wage" violations by the low bidders. State Representative Larry Wolpert (R) had asked the state controlling board not to release $7,000,000 in funds until the low bidders were selected.

References

  1. "Huntington buys naming rights for ballpark." Columbus Business First. 7 February 2006.


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