New development deal to bring minor league baseball stadium and independent league to Utica

UTICA, Mich. (WXYZ) - A major development project will bring minor league baseball to the city of Utica.

The $8 to $10 million construction project will include a ballpark to host multiple teams that will make up a new independent league. 

It's a "Field of Dreams," according to Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

“This is a minor league ballpark, venue with a tremendous economic advantage to the city of Utica and obviously Macomb County," said Hackel.

The 2,500 seat stadium could include as many as 18 suites while bringing affordable family entertainment to the Macomb County community.

“This is major opportunity for southeast Michigan and the region and we couldn’t have found a better place for it," Hackel said of the site at Moscone Drive and Auburn. The stadium will be built on a capped brownfield site that has been vacant for decades, according to Utica mayor Jacqueline Noonan.

General Sports and Entertainment, based in Rochester, is behind the development. A parking structure for 500 vehicles will be part of the development. The land for the project, and a second phase that would include housing and retail, has been donated by the Utica Downtown Development Authority. 

“We’ve invested a good amount of money to make sure this is going to be the perfect ballpark for this site," said Zain Masters, director of research and strategy for General Sports and Entertainment. "The site alone is fantastic and in a great location, the city of Utica.”

A professional, independent league, made up of three teams initially, will play its 72 games at the stadium from May 15 to Sept. 15.

Noonan believes the stadium will quickly become a community asset. “Baseball for four or five months but all kinds of other wonderful activities," she said. "A venue for meetings, a venue for ice skating—with music in the winter. I think overall people will really enjoy it. It will make us more of a destination."

May 15, 2015 is the target date for the first game to be played at the stadium.

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