Council chair weighs in on the future of Smith’s Ballpark

Jan 25, 2023, 11:10 AM
A fundraising effort has begun to raise $100 million to help redevelop the Ballpark neighborhood of...
FILE: The BYU Cougars and Utah Utes play at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. BYU won 10-3. (Mengshin Lin, Deseret News)
(Mengshin Lin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A fundraising effort has begun to raise $100 million to help redevelop the Ballpark neighborhood of Salt Lake City. The redevelopment will be needed once the Salt Lake Bees leave for a new baseball field in South Jordan, which is expected to be completed by 2025.

What will take the place of the current stadium, Smith’s Ballpark on the corner of 1300 South and West Temple, is still anyone’s guess.

Ballpark Community Council Chair Amy Hawkins shared her thoughts with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic.

“We talked about how could we activate that space more times of the year and we talked about, you know, putting a rooftop restaurant there, doing winters farmers markets,” said Hawkins.

It does have the best view in baseball, period. It’s really hard to think about bulldozing the best view in baseball right? Don’t you want to repurpose that at least for something? I do.”

Hawkins said she wishes groups would have rallied together years ago so the Bees wouldn’t be leaving for South Jordan and the Daybreak community.

“It’s kind of like someone just got a terminal sentence and we’ve got two years left with the Bees to hit everything on our bucket list with them.”

Green space and space for people to relax

So what does Hawkins think the community needs going forward? She recognizes the city is becoming more crowded.

“We know that there’s less green space in the ballpark than most other areas of the city. And we know we’re getting increasingly dense,” she said.

“We know people are moving into the neighborhood. And so I look at that space and I think, ‘let’s make sure that, as we put in more and more apartments, and as we up zone because the city’s moving forward with upzoning everywhere around the ballpark track station, let’s preserve a place for people to go.'”

Hawkins believes space for residents to relax is important.

“So we need someplace to recreate we need some place for people to take all those … dogs that (Salt Lake City Mayor) Erin Mendenhall and I mentioned last night. We need a place for the community to be healthy.”

Related: Salt Lake Bees baseball relocating to new field in Daybreak in 2025

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Council chair weighs in on the future of Smith’s Ballpark