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Ballpark renovation awaits bids


City leaders and officials of the Iowa Cubs will find out in February whether renovation of the baseball team’s stadium, Principal Park, can go ahead as planned or will have to be scaled back.

The bidding process has started for a comprehensive project that was intended to cost about $3.6 million. The first estimates, done by HOK Sport+Venue+Event of Kansas City, Mo., came in about $600,000 higher than that.

The original plan calls for a plaza and fountain area beyond the right-field foul pole, access at that point to the Principal Riverwalk, an extension of the grandstand along the right-field foul line, seating replacement, changes to conform to the Americans With Disabilities Act, a new scoreboard, an electronic replay board and more.

The Principal Financial Group Foundation committed $2.5 million to the project in return for stadium naming rights, and the city has committed $1 million for seat replacement.

The Iowa Cubs pay the city $16,000 per year for use of the stadium and are required to maintain it.

At last week’s Des Moines City Council meeting, City Manager Eric Anderson said he had rejected a request to raise the city’s financial commitment to the project. “If the bids come in at the estimated amount, you will have to decide what to delete,” Anderson told the council. “If they’re even higher than that, that will be a whole new problem, and the project may have to wait.”

The council is expected to act on bid proposals at its Feb. 28 meeting.

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