Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell made a couple of major announcements Thursday during a press conference at historic Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
- 84-year-old Lawrence-Dumont Stadium will be demolished and replaced by a new modern facility.
- The New Orleans Baby Cakes, a Triple-A baseball team affiliated with the Miami Marlins, has filed a relocation application seeking a move to Wichita.
Rumors and speculation have been rampant in Wichita for the past several months, but nothing official was released until this morning. There was an element of surprise since many thought that the town would be a likely candidate for a lower-level club, such as a Single-A or Double-A team. Wichita was home the Double-A KC Royals affiliated Wichita Wranglers until 2007. The town did host a Triple-A team, the Aeros, who played at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium from 1970-1984.
The Baby Cakes currently play in a suburb of New Orleans. Their current lease expires in 2020, which means they would likely debut in their new Wichita stadium for the 2021 season.
The city released a conceptual design of the new stadium Thursday. It shows a two-deck stadium complete with luxury suites and two large glass buildings with patios that overlook left field. They are planning a major redevelopment of the entire area along the Arkansas River that will include retail, restaurant and drinking options. Financing for the Wichita project is expected to come from setting aside future sales and property taxes on commercial development expected to occur around the new stadium.