What’s next for Smith’s Ballpark? Salt Lake City unveils potential options
May 16, 2023, 5:36 PM
(N. Tate Barney, J. Owen Huff and Logan Hall via Salt Lake City)
SALT LAKE CITY — The future of the Smith’s Ballpark site is beginning to look a bit clearer as Salt Lake City officials unveiled nine possible design concepts residents can vote on over the next week, before the city selects three winners for its Ballpark Next competition at the end of the month.
The nine finalists are divided into three categories: professional design, resident design and post-secondary student design. The nine design concepts were picked by a selection committee, including Ballpark various neighborhood residents, said Andrew Wittenberg, a spokesman for the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office.
The finalists include:
- Tessa Arneson and team — Maven District, Colmena and Kimball Investment Company
- Cameron Blakely and Allpark Team
- David Vaughan and team — Dwell Design Studio
- Oscar Arizu
- Damon Talbot
- Melissa Greis
- Trevor Bell and team — University of Utah
- Nicholas Tate Barney and team — Utah State University
- Brittain Corbett and team — Utah Valley University
Their designs, which can be viewed in full detail here, reimagine the ballpark in a few ways, including making it a possible new home for the Utah Royals professional women’s soccer team, turning it into a public space, creating a new residential community or simply turning it into a new city park. Many of the designs incorporate some use of the existing grandstands as an homage to the current structure.
Residents can vote on their favorite designs on another website created by the city.
“I think that the desire is for as much public input as we can get,” Wittenberg said.
The voting process ends May 25 and the three winners — one in each category — will be announced at 6 p.m. on May 31, he added. The professional concept winner will receive a $15,000 cash prize, while the student ($10,000) and residential ($5,000) winners will also be awarded money.
The city will take the three winning designs and send out a request for proposals, where a design team can fine-tune the concepts and create a final project for the space. That process could begin later this year.
“This will be a way to see what is possible and hopefully utilize the elements of those winning submissions to inform the (request for proposal) process,” he said.
Mendenhall announced the Ballpark Next competition on Jan. 17, hours after the Larry H. Miller Company unveiled plans to move the Salt Lake Bees Triple-A baseball team out of Smith’s Ballpark at the end of the 2024 season and build a new ballpark on land it owns in South Jordan’s Daybreak community.
Of course, it was revealed last month the Miller Company was quietly building a coalition of prominent Utahns seeking to bring a Major League Baseball franchise to the city’s west side when the news broke out.
But Mendenhall explained that the point of the competition is to find some sort of anchor at the center of the city’s plan to revitalize the Ballpark neighborhood. The city had hoped to keep the Bees so it could remain the primary anchor, even offering a legacy lease to the Miller Company last year.
“Now that we have more than 13 acres of prime real estate, (there) is an unparalleled development opportunity to invest in for the people of Salt Lake City and this neighborhood,” the mayor said in January.
The city wound up receiving about 100 submissions after the competition was announced, Wittenberg said. Residents submitted most of the designs, while the city received about a dozen submissions each from college students and professional designers.
He added the city wants to get to work on the project as early as the fall of 2024, which is when the Bees’ lease with the city ends. It would depend on the project as to how long it would take for the next concept to open.
“The ultimate goal would be to have it to where you can get started on whatever (the design) is … so it’s ready to go by the conclusion of the 2024 season — after that baseball season is completed,” Wittenberg said. “We’re aiming to move forward as quickly as we can. Certainly, no one would want the area to not have any activity activation whatsoever.”