The over 55–year–old Franklin Rogers Ball Park is getting a facelift, but the project is leaving little room for error.

The Frank is quiet now, but what is normally an active place for ball in the summer is gearing up for a busy winter of work.

Mankato Moondogs Interim General Manager Austin Link said, "Everyone knows we need the new bathrooms. More stalls and everything like that. So to be able to get people in and out in a nicer bathroom will be big. As well as, we're adding some berm seating, so the more GA seating so we can get more people into the ballpark."

The efforts to upgrade Franklin Rogers Park include improvements to the dugouts and locker rooms but also plenty of field work to address poor conditions and prepare for the addition of a turf surface.

Link said, "If it rains, we're not going to have to lay down 20 bags of Diamond Dry and start raking and delay the game. We can get rollers and brush off all the water and get a game going in a half hour."

Last night, Mankato's city council approved contracts to complete Phase One of the project, which should be done by the start of baseball next year.

But the almost $3.4 million approved for the project is about $140,000 over what the city was initially looking at.

Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said, "We're still within the overall project budget, but it leaves very little room for unforeseen as we call it, contingencies."

The building and ground works pushed up some of the costs but alternates including a trail connecting to parking across from the street and a portable pitching mound along with some items for a proposed phase two of the project have added to the expense.

The city says they'll work with those behind the project to see where they can minimize costs.

Hentges said, "We're going to have some negotiations with the contractor possible adjusting some of the work. Taking some things out."

Once the work is complete, the hope is to bring more games to the ballpark including high school and college, tournaments and softball.


--KEYC News 12