This is a part in a series of blog posts about places where a minor league baseball park could be built in various Maritime centres. I have discussed some of these in the past but I will go into farther detail in this series of posts and each proposed location will have its own post. For this post I will discuss why Mainland North Common (Halifax) is an ideal place for a minor league ballpark.
Another place where a high level baseball team could play in Halifax is the current ball field on the North Common (next to the Canada Games Centre). Obviously, it would have to be upgraded from its current state.
Two things that the North Common ballpark has in its favor are location and the fact it is already used for baseball. Now, earlier I argued that a downtown ballpark is best; so it may sound I am being a little hypocritical here but I am not. I still believe downtown (or close to it) is best but this is the best location that isn’t downtown. Being off the highway helps as it is easy to get to from all areas of HRM. Also, highway access makes it easy to get to for any out-of-town fans coming to a ball game. Being in Clayton Park makes it an easy place to get to for people who live nearby. The area from Clayton Park to Larry Uteck is just flooded with apartments and condos. There are some estimates that when Larry Uteck is fully developed, it will have a maximum capacity 100,000 people.
The fact the field is already a ball field helps as well. Obviously, upgrades will have to be made to both the playing field and the seating areas. Since it is already a baseball field, there would be no expenses in terms of grading the land in order to have a regulation sized baseball field. The stadium itself would need more seating, concession areas, washrooms, running water, electricity, press box and private boxes. There is certainly enough room around the field to accommodate these things. Even parking is relatively easy with the Canada Games lot there. Also, both Soccer Nova Scotia and Halifax West High School are nearby. The school lot will always be available as games would rarely, if ever be played while class is in session. Also, Mainland North is easily accessible via public transportation with the new bus terminal located on the other side of the Canada Games Centre.
The area is spacious enough that when/if demand is needed, adding extra stands to accommodate crowds won’t be a problem. One could even cheap out and use facilities at the Canada Games Centre instead of building clubhouses to accommodate home & visiting teams as well as the umpires. But as mentioned above, there’s plenty of space to expand the facility to accommodate the needs of a professional team. One advantage of being away from downtown (i.e. the water) is fog would play less of a factor than a park near the water. If you’re not familiar with Halifax, it doesn’t take long for fog to roll into the harbour.
With the recent news of upgrades to Wanderers Grounds (soccer/rugby), this is likely the best place to launch a minor league / summer collegiate team in Halifax. The ballpark just needs the appropriate upgrades to be a viable professional park.