‘It’s something we need in this community’: An inside look at construction progress for Beloit’s new stadium

BELOIT, Wis. – While it’s not yet complete, those behind Beloit’s new downtown baseball stadium are starting to visualize the impact it will have.

“The goal of the project is to create vibrancy in downtown Beloit,” said Senior VP of Development John Gackstetter, who gave News 3 Now an exclusive look inside construction progress. What we envisioned and what we want is for people to park downtown, go to lunch and the storefronts, then walk to the stadium.”

Earlier in December, the minor league baseball team in Beloit (Which is searching for a new name) was named the Single-A affiliate for the Miami Marlins.

READ: Beloit Snappers invited to become advanced-A affiliate of Miami Marlins

Gackstetter says it’s a move that first hinged on the team being sold, then the city approving the construction of a new park. Without it, it was likely Beloit would have been one of 40 teams to lose their Major League affiliation for good.

In fall 2019m however, the Snappers were sold to Gateway Baseball group, led by philanthropist Quint Studer, who already owns a minor-league team in Pensacola.

Studer teamed with businesswoman Diane Hendricks, along with a small group of entrepreneurs, to form the Riverbend Stadium Authority, which was able to privately fund the stadium’s $35 million cost.

Under the Riverbend Stadium Authority, the park will operate as a non-profit entity, with Gateway Baseball Group as its primary tenant.

“Diane Hendricks, Dennis Conerton and the Riverbend stadium authority sat down and said they’re willing to take this risk,” Gackstetter said. “It’s a huge risk, but it’s something that we need in this community, because if we don’t, we lose a team. Guaranteed.”

When it’s done in July 2021, the ABC Supply Stadium will feature a 3,500 person capacity with spaces for private parties and other events. Those behind the project say they’d hope to see it used for more than just baseball. Still, the idea of drawing fans to Beloit is exciting for Gackstetter.

“This is going to bring 3000 people downtown at least 70 times a year,” he said. “At a minimum.”