Anchorage’s venerable Mulcahy Stadium, which turns fifty years old next year, may be torn down to make way for parking lot expansion at the Chester Creek Sports Complex. That’s the plan proposed by the muni’s Parks and Recreation department, according to John Rodda, department director.
Rodda says, originally, new parking lots were planned at the site of the two grass ballfields West of Mulcahy, but that plan posed traffic problems. He said, within the past year, another idea hatched
“And then a new group of us got together and came up with the idea, that , you know ‘why should we have disjointed parking- that just complicates things even further – puts people further away from the venues. Why don’t we do this in a holistic sense, with all of the parking being centralized, so you’ve got access to Sullivan, Ben Boeke, the Anchorage football park and Mulcahyy all in one general area. “
The new plan moves Mulcahy to the site of the two ballfields, and uses the old stadium site for a new parking lot. Rodda says the move will open up about 400 new parking spaces. But Rodda says, the new stadium will have many advantages
“We tried to incorporate and include elements that were beyond, I would say, the traditional ball park, because this new facility should enhance and should invite other public uses. We could use it for a farmers’ market, or a car show, or other event stageing. Special events, corporate picnics. There’s all kinds of elements that we are trying to make this park freindly for, and yet take care of the parking problem. “
Parks and Rec approved the plan in November, and a design by the architectural firm USKH is nearing completion. Rodda says stakeholders in the plan have been notified, although the project has not been widely publicized.
Under the proposal, the current Mulcahy will be torn down and a new stadium built about one block away. The new stadium will be a bit smaller than the current 3500 seat stadium. The new one will have one thousand grandstand seats and fifteen hundred “informal” seats.
“I’ll call it more casual seating, because we’re using artificial turf. We’re actually sloping it, and almost to give it a feel of sitting out on a grassed area, and actually watching the game, I’ll call it, from the cheap seats. And people will actually be able to expand along both lines [of the baseball field] and actually have additional seating down there.”
Rodda says the plan has the backing of the city administration.
Rodda says the city has close to four million dollars in legislative grants earmarked for parking expansion at the Chester Creek Complex, and will request more than twelve million dollars from the legislature for the stadium rebuild. He says the balance is expected to come from sponsorships.
Mulcahy is used by the Anchorage Bucs and the Glacier Pilots summer college baseball teams.
If the plan is approved by city planners and gets the green light from the Anchorage Municipal Assembly, construction could begin in 2015.