The South Bend Silver Hawks announced today they are the recipient of Ballpark Digest’s 2012 Renovation of the Year Award. Each year Ballpark Digest honors noteworthy accomplishments in the baseball world, including Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, independent baseball, summer-collegiate baseball and college baseball.
Ballpark Digest awarded the Renovation of the Year Award to the Silver Hawks based on more than $4 million in renovations made to the stadium in 2012. The improvements, financed by team owner, Andrew T. Berlin, and the City of South Bend, included a new children’s play area with inflatable attractions, enhanced outdoor seating areas complete with heaters for cold weather games, a splash pad, improved food quality and choices, better parking, engaging in-stadium promotions that leverage one of the largest stadium video screens in America, new outdoor box suites, and a one-of-a-kind Team Store that has been converted from an abandoned century-old synagogue that’s been brought into the ballpark.
“People don’t realize how close South Bend came to losing minor league baseball,” said Kevin Reichard, publisher of Ballpark Digest. “But the renovations at Coveleski Stadium brought out fans and showed Andrew Berlin’s commitment to the market. Seeing a game in South Bend was incredibly enhanced by the ballpark improvements.”
After Friday’s final home game, the Silver Hawks expect a total 2012 attendance count of more than 180,000, up from 112,000 in 2011. “We’ve had a great season, thanks to all the support from the community,” said Joe Hart, President of the Silver Hawks. “We’ve invested a lot of time and money into turning the Cove into a destination that offers something for people of all ages. Next season we plan to make even more improvements.”
“The ballpark improvements bought fun back to the ballpark,” Reichard said. “In a time of tight municipal budgets, it’s good to see a public-private partnership work so well. Baseball is synonymous with family entertainment, and families in South Bend are certainly reaping the benefits of the Coveleski Stadium makeover.”
This is the fourth season for the Ballpark Digest Awards. A complete listing of Ballpark Digest Awards can be found at www.ballparkdigest.com/awards.