The Urban Blog had the chance to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new ballpark downtown today. In the middle of a muddy field described by those who had seen it as "a swamp yesterday", a baseball diamond was striped in pretty much exactly where the baseball diamond will be when the stadium portion of the project is completed next year. At second base was a lectern and seats for the guests of honor, all of whom spoke.
Stadium District Conceptual Rendering
The speakers were Stuart Katzoff of SK Baseball, Rick Parr, general manager Tucson Sidewinders, State Senators Bill Raggio and Randolph Townsend, Washoe County Commission Chair Bob Larkin, Mayor Bob Cashell, Pacific Coast League President Branch Rickey, and the CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jeff Moorad.
All these speakers had a lot to say including some off-putting things such as choice barbs for the naysayers and cheesy jokes about mafia-style executions, but the message that came through overwhelmingly through the comments was one of a vision for downtown Reno's future centered around a triumph of idealism over skepticism, about a future where people who mean what they say and put their money where their mouths are, come in with the right intentions and create an environment where families will want to live and play.
Baseball District Conceptual Ground Plan
All in all, a day Reno has been waiting for for a long time. This project looks to repair a long-neglected section of the city, and taken alongside other positive developments like Montage, the Urban Market, Powning District and 4th Street TOD Corridor, much work is underway to build a new future for Reno that reflects the best of its past - that bustling town on the river where something was always happening - the undeniable, irresistible feeling that led to the coining of the slogan "The Biggest Little City In The World". I for one can't wait.