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Ribbon cutting official marks return of minor league baseball to Amarillo

More than 600 baseball fans flocked to “Hodgetown” Thursday as the City of Amarillo and the Amarillo Sod Poodles welcomed citizens to celebrate the opening of Amarillo’s brand-new baseball stadium.

Today’s ribbon cutting event for “Hodgetown” represents the culmination of a city vision that dates to at least 2009.

“This is an exciting and historic day for Amarillo,” Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said. “After nearly a decade of preparation, the most significant economic catalyst in downtown Amarillo in decades – “Hodgetown” - is a reality. This is a beautiful facility that will serve as a centerpiece for increasing tourism and economic development for the entire Amarillo community.”

The Amarillo Sod Poodles, the San Diego Padres AA affiliate who will occupy the facility, moved into the new ballpark earlier this week.

“This all started with an idea and really a dream to create something unique and special in downtown Amarillo for our community. In order to achieve something of this size and scale, it has taken an incredible team to work tirelessly together day after day toward the same goal.

Our team and the Elmore Sports Group are truly blessed to be a part of a team with the City of Amarillo, Western Builders, AECOM Hunt, Populous, the San Diego Padres and our front office staff. It has been this team of dedicated people that has made this project a reality.

But if we were to name an MVP of this team, it would be the individual community members who brought this dream of this incredible facility to life," Sod Poodles President and General Manager Tony Ensor said

City of Amarillo Facilities Director Jerry Danforth played the primary supervisory role in the construction of “Hodgetown,” from the groundbreaking in February 2018 to today’s ribbon cutting event.

“Bringing this project in on time and under budget was an absolute requirement,” said Danforth. “We are enormously proud of this accomplishment.”

The facility was funded through the City’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) initiative, and not local property taxes. .

According to Danforth, his team continually reviewed and analyzed construction progress to ensure it was meeting requirements for performance, safety and quality at the lowest possible cost. In doing so, the City was able to add additional amenities from cost savings that were not included in the original plans, all while staying under the original budget.

The Sod Poodles will play their home opener on Monday, April 8, marking the official return of Minor League Baseball to the City of Amarillo. The Sod Poodles will be providing tours of “Hodgetown” beginning April 24. Contact the Amarillo Sod Poodles for more information.

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