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Chaska Athletic Park In Running To Win Big Cash

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There are 25 historic sites around the Twin Cities vying for a chance to win big money for preservation purposes.

The Partners in Preservation program promises $125,000 from American Express for the site that receives the most votes among those 25. Votes are being tabulated through Facebook.

Among the locales in the running is Chaska Athletic Park, which has been a fixture in the south metro area since the 1950s, the place to be on game night.

Chaska Mayor Mark Windschitl said he is hoping people will log on to help out.

“We feel it’s a real gem of our city, because we’re down in the Minnesota River Valley and the trees for the backdrop,” he said.

But Windschitl said Athletic Park could also use a few improvements. When the park was originally built, it featured a sunken dugout. Restoring that would revive the historic feel.

Windschitl would also like to address some safely concerns. Moving the bullpen and batting cages further from the field are also on the list.

“Our warning track is just a little bit narrow, you basically take one stride and you’re at the fence,” he said. “We are looking to improve fan safety and player safety. That’s of the utmost importance is that everyone comes to enjoy the park and no one gets hurt.”

It’s a little bit like a small-market, farm team taking on the big-ticket headliners in the championships. Among the other candidates on the list are such high-profile places as the Basilica, Fort Snelling and the State Fair Grandstand.

“It’s quite a list of facilities. I mean you go from a baseball park all the way to the Basillica. So it’s tough competition,” admitted Windschitl. “We have the baseball backing and I think people are compassionate enough about it, I just don’t know how many people got the Facebook.”

This weekend, you’ll have a chance to check out each of the 25 finalist sites. There is an open house this Saturday and Sunday at each site.

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