Monthly Archives: October 2009

What’s behind the big pile of dirt on Raab Road?

Dozens of times over the past several months, I have driven past the CornBelters stadium site on Raab Road wondering just what was going on behind the big pile of dirt.

This photo taken from the pressbox, directly behind home plate, shows the seating bowl behind home plate and down the first base line, the outline of the first base dugout, and the rightfield berm in the distance.  At the top of the seating area will be a wide concourse that will wrap around the stadium.

This photo taken from the pressbox, directly behind home plate, shows the seating bowl behind home plate and down the first base line, the outline of the first base dugout, and the rightfield berm in the distance. At the top of the seating area will be a wide concourse that will wrap around the stadium.

Monday night, the Normal Town Council got a first hand look at the excellent construction progress being made on the stadium that will be home to the Frontier League baseball team and Heartland Community College baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s soccer.

By the way, that big pile of dirt is actually a seating berm.

A worker lays sod on the left field seating berm Monday evening at the stadium under construction at the east end of the Heartland Community Colege campus on West Raab Road.

A worker lays sod on the left field seating berm Monday evening at the stadium under construction at the east end of the Heartland Community Colege campus on West Raab Road.

Perhaps anticipating Tuesday’s rains, crews were laying down sod on the twin berms which will provide outfield seating for baseball fans and spectators of other events held in the stadium.

On the other side of the berm, you get a true sense of what it will be like inside the stadium.

Inside, the concrete retaining wall has been poured and the dugouts are clearly visible down each line.   You also get a sense of the amount of permanent seating, about ten rows of seats between the press box and the box seats behind home plate and extending down the left field and right field lines to about the far side of each dugout. 

You also can see evidence of concession stands, luxury suites, and restrooms along a very wide concourse that will completely circle the stadium.

Club officials say that if all goes well the field turf will be installed around Nov. 1.

Already, 10 of the 12 suites have been sold, along with hundreds of season tickets.   

A-maizing progress, indeed.

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Filed under Baseball, Heartland Community College, Town Council

Celebrate ISU Homecoming by running Oct. 17 in the Town & Gown 5K Race

Registration is humming along at a record pace for the 2009 Town & Gown 5K run on the Saturday morning of ISU Homecoming.Town Gown 5K Logo

This will be the ninth year for the race that attracted more than 350 runners last year and is growing by leaps and bounds.   About that many runners (at all levels of fitness) are already pre-registered for the race which will start at  7 a.m. sharp on Oct. 17.

I’ll be back out on the course again this year with a stopwatch yelling out one-mile split times (somewhere on Mulberry around Manchester Hall) and to present awards at the conclusion of the race.

After I was first elected, I was determined to find a way to work cooperatively with the university, to find a fun activity that would mark the beginning of the downtown redevelopment ,and to celebrate our community’s strong connection with Illinois State University.    A race through campus and what is now Uptown seemed like a good fit.   

Jay Groves, my friend and co-founder of the race, came up with the idea to hold the event on the morning of ISU Homecoming and it turned out that two laps around the parade route was exactly five kilometers!   The first Town & Gown 5K Run/Walk was born. 

Over the years, hundreds of runners have participated — through rain and shine — hot and cold.

This race would not happen each without the enthusiasm and organizational skills of race director Juliana Duncan and her staff at Illinois State University or without the dedication of Sandy Fedden in the City Manager’s office who wakes up early on a Saturday to deliver the food and drink that she procures.   

We appreciate the involvement of the Normal Police who keep the runners safe and of Mitch Hobbs and his crew at Often Running, who  lend their expertise at the finish line.    These folks make it a well run event which has grown to be one of the bigger races on the local Lake Run Club circuit.

We are fortunate to have so many people pulling together to create an exciting event that has accomplished its original purpose and then some.

Thanks to all of the runners who have pre-registered for this year’s race.  

And for those of you interested in participating, there’s still time to enter.

I’ll see you out there on the course.

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Filed under Illinois State University, NPD, Uncategorized, Uptown Normal