KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Ripken Baseball, which brings thousands of youth sports teams to Sevier County every year, will spend $3 million to renovate four baseball fields at Pigeon Forge’s Wear Farm City Park.
Ripken Baseball announced Wednesday that they will gain access to four additional fields at Pigeon Forge’s Wear Farm City Park that will be completely upgraded prior to the start of the 2023 season.
Like the original six fields at the Ripken Experience, the four Wear Farm City Park fields will become youth replicas of famous Major League Baseball parks of the past and present.
The fields will be transformed into replicas of St. Louis’s Busch Stadium, Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium and Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium as part of a $3 million renovation project that will begin this summer.
“Every year, our teams and their families take home countless fond memories of the Pigeon Forge area when they participate in The Ripken Experience™,” said Cal Ripken, Jr., who co-founded Ripken Baseball with his brother Bill Ripken. “The views are unbelievable and the feeling you have when you experience our complex is special. The demand to play here is through the roof. This is an exciting opportunity to expand and welcome even more baseball families to Pigeon Forge.”
The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge will be able to host youth teams from around the country on 10 total fields after the renovations are complete.
Since opening its doors in March 2016, more than 5,000 youth baseball teams and 250 high school softball teams have taken to the six fields at The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge. More than 75,000 players and coaches have played at the complex with an additional 1,000 teams expected to travel to the complex for competition in 2022.
According to an official release, a 2018 economic impact study attributed $33.8 million in visitor spending to The Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge during the facility’s nine-month season that year.
Ripken Experience activities at Wear Farm City Park will take place primarily in daytime hours during the summer season, allowing the four baseball fields to remain available for Pigeon Forge residents during evenings, weekends, and most Fridays.
“Pigeon Forge’s partnership with Ripken Baseball is a successful one, as demonstrated by the annual increase in demand for the ball fields and the direct impact on our city’s tourism industry due to the many families who visit,” said Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster. “The upgrades to Wear Farm City Park are a win-win for The Ripken Experience™ and our Pigeon Forge residents as these fields bring vast improvements for everyone to enjoy.”
Wear Farm City Park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The park, which also has soccer and youth football facilities, will continue to host youth baseball leagues.
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