SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Salt Lake City is inviting the community to share what they envision for the future of Smith’s Ballpark after it was announced the Salt Lake Bees would be leaving the stadium at the end of 2024.
The Ballpark NEXT Design Competition is inviting Utahns to submit concepts for the 13-acre lot that currently serves as the site of Smith’s Ballpark. Whether it’s housing, restaurants, a park, or anything else, Ballpark NEXT provides an opportunity to influence the site in a way that will serve the neighborhood.
Selected proposals could even win a cash prize.
The competition is divided into concepts from three categories: one for Utah residents, one for post-secondary students, and one for development professionals. A selected concept proposal from each category will win a cash prize ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.
Concept proposals are encouraged to re-imagine what is described as the heart of the Ballpark area and what is next for years to come. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said that while she is disappointed in the Bees’ move away from downtown, she is excited about the unparalleled opportunity to build on the neighborhood.
“This property will not become an empty pit or a public safety risk,” said Mendenhall in a statement. “I refuse to have this site – which has been so full of energy and history – to sit idle when it holds such tremendous opportunity. We’ve been ready to invest in this spot for three years and now that we know, we’re moving forward immediately.”
According to City officials, the ballpark has been a site for baseball for over 100 years. Smith’s Ballpark, as a structure, has stood since 1994, originally opening as Franklin Quest Field.
As the Bees move out, Mendenhall said the city now has an incredible opportunity and “Salt Lake City is ready to play ball.”
“At a time when this city desperately needs more housing, more economic density, more recreational opportunities, and more investment in human capital, we now have access to 13 acres of prime real estate,” Mendenhall said. She continued on to say the development will make the lot “far more productive” for the community.
Along with accepting proposals and concepts from the community at large, officials from the mayor’s office and the city’s economic development department will be speaking with residents and business owners in the Ballpark neighborhood to listen to concerns.
For more information or to submit a concept proposal for the Ballpark NEXT competition, visit the Salt Lake City government website. Concepts will reportedly be judged by a team of community members, City employees, and public and private sector stakeholders.