Thank you!

Today is Opening Day at CHS Field, and I couldn’t be more excited to see the ballpark filled with fans and families, enjoying a hot dog and watching a baseball game. But this scene would not be possible without the support of the entire community.

Your investment in our community is already having a huge impact on the Lowertown neighborhood – bringing thousands of people downtown and stimulating economic development across the city.

With your support, and with the leadership and advocacy of legislators, Saint Paul City Councilmembers and Governor Mark Dayton alike, the vision and dream of a community ballpark in downtown Saint Paul has become a reality.

It took plenty of hard work and partnership to get here. From cleaning up the land, to making sure we were adding a sustainable, accessible asset to our community, this project involved constant collaboration.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Metropolitan Council, Ramsey County, the Saint Paul Port Authority, Xcel Energy, the Lowertown Ballpark Design and Construction Committee, and the Capitol Region Watershed District were all integral to turning a decades-old, contaminated industrial site into one of the greenest, most accessible and most beautiful minor league ballparks in the nation. With their help, this ballpark boasts more than just a green field and four bases – it has public art, a dog park, a rainwater capture system, community space and new access points to trails, and local businesses – all things that create a seamless coming together of Saint Paul and CHS Field.

Members of the business community – including the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce – were also steadfast champions of a downtown, community ballpark. Their advocacy efforts on behalf of the ballpark were critical to securing state, city and private funding.

A ballpark is not a ballpark without baseball teams. Thank you to the St. Paul Saints for their incredible vision for the ballpark and their commitment to providing affordable fun for our community. A special welcome to the Hamline University Piper baseball team, which will play its home games at CHS Field. Both teams’ financial contributions to the ballpark were critical to the public-private partnership that drove the development of the facility.

Most importantly, I want to thank YOU. CHS Field would not be possible without the support of the entire community.

Let’s play ball! 

Mayor Chris Coleman

 

Saints’ Gear Up For 1st Home Opener At New CHS Field

Thursday marks the St. Paul Saints baseball team’s first home opener in their new stadium at CHS Field.

By the numbers, the stadium cost about $65 million to build, $55 million of which was public money. It won’t just be used for Saints games, either. CHS Field will host both Hamline and amateur baseball games.

“I pinch myself every day when I come to work. It’s just a beautiful ballpark,” Annie Huidekoper, the Saints’ vice-president of community partnerships and customer service, said. “It’ll be magical when we have 7,000 or 8,000 people in here on opening night.”

The Saints have a new name for their porcine mascot to honor the occasion. Each year for the past 22 seasons, the pig gets a unique name. Owner Mike Veeck announced Wednesday that this year’s pig is named “Pablo Pigasso.”

The name was selected out of 1,400 entries in the St. Paul Pioneer Press contest, and was so chosen because CHS Field is considered a masterpiece.

 

Saints ready to make themselves at home

Of all the questions Annie Huidekoper has fielded about the Saints’ move to CHS Field, the fate of the pig is among the most common.

“Lots of people are asking about it,’’ the team vice president said. “They’re saying, ‘You’re on such a nice field now. You won’t possibly be bringing in a live pig.’ ’’

Huidekoper chuckled at the notion that no sensible baseball team would house livestock at a sleek new home in St. Paul’s hippest neighborhood. But these are the Saints, who perfected the art of nonsense during 22 years at Midway Stadium. So the pig not only is coming along, but he’s getting an upgraded seat — a pen specially designed for him by a prominent architect.

For St. Paul’s Lowertown, CHS Field is much more than a ballpark

Roger Nielsen jokes that when he opened Master Framers in the mid-1970s, his neighbors in St. Paul’s Lowertown were “nothing but winos and pigeons.”

Forty years later, his Fourth Street frame shop is just a couple of blocks from a dozen restaurants, bars, the recently renovated Union Depot — and now, CHS Field.

“Oh man, what a difference,” Nielsen said. “There’s a real excitement in Lowertown that I’ve never felt before.”

 

It might be modest and unassuming, but CHS Field is still a gem

For the first time since 1908 or 1909, there is a ballpark in downtown St. Paul. At the turn of the 20th century, the park was called, for lack of marketing, The Downtown Ballpark (also known as the “Pillbox”), and it sat about where the old Taystee Bakery was, if you remember that. A fire destroyed that little bandbox and the Saints moved to what was then a first version of Lexington Park.

 

A look at St. Paul ballparks through history

After a century and a half, St. Paul’s home team is returning to Lowertown.

Since the 1850s, St. Paul’s team has had nebulous nicknames, a half-dozen ballparks, and about as many owners. Ticket prices have gone from 50 cents to 16 bucks. The team that moved out of town to eventually morph into the Chicago White Sox will play their first game Thursday at the new CHS Field.