Multi-million dollar renovations to Wade Stadium are underway in Duluth

By KBJR News 1

August 27, 2014 Updated Aug 27, 2014 at 8:37 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Renovations to one of Duluth's landmarks are underway, helping to further Duluth Mayor Don Ness's vision of revitalizing west Duluth and the St. Louis River Corridor.

"One, two, three, huskies!"

Many people in the Northland would say it's about time Wade Stadium got a facelift...

Well, that time has come.

"The fact that we're not going to have to cancel games two, three days after a rain storm because there's no drainage on the field, that is probably number one," said Craig Smith, general manager of the Duluth Huskies Baseball team.

Duluth recently received $2.3 million in a matching fund grant for renovations to Wade Stadium.

The money came from the Minnesota State Legislature and the city is responsible for raising a matching amount.

"It's a great day for baseball in Duluth, it's a great day for West Duluth," said Duluth city councilor Howie Hanson.

This week the stadium's historic light stands were taken down to make room for new lighting fixtures.

"The new lights, it's going to benefit the neighborhood, there's only going to be a 2% spillage of light in the neighborhood so it really doesn't bother the neighbors, better lighting for the field, for the players, more consistent playing surface for all levels of baseball," said Smith.

But the renovations don't stop there.

This winter the Wade will get all new lighting, new artificial turf and upgrades to storm water and electrical services.

"The hope is is that the St. Scholastica Saints and possibly even UMD, I'm told, might be playing some of their home games here about a month earlier than normal, because with a turf field, the field doesn't have to dry out, the frost doesn't have to come out of the ground," said Hanson.

Duluth city councilor Howie Hanson says with a turf field a bobcat can be used in the winter to remove the snow.

He also says with the dark surface and the sun beating down melting the snow, local college teams will be able to play as early as the end of March.

"...which will allow the Saints especially to have some home games, something they haven't had in the last couple years," said Hanson.

Hanson says the new renovations come with the hope of putting Duluth on the map as a real baseball community.

The project is expected to be complete by late November.

Elsa Robins