The warming house built in early 1940s at Bane Park in south Brainerd was demolished Tuesday.
Brainerd Parks Director Tony Sailer said the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Board approved the demolition of the warming house at its Sept. 26 meeting and construction to rebuild the warming house will begin Thursday or Friday. Hy-Tec Construction Inc., in Brainerd, will be the general contractors.
“It’s old and decrepit and at this point it’s becoming an eyesore,” said Sailer. “The board approved the project to rebuild the warming house and the money will to be taken out of the park dedication fund. The building will cost about $124,000.”
Sailer said the old warming house was not handicapped accessible and the new house will be. The new structure will be 30 feet by 60 feet, which is twice as big as the former building. The structure will include the warming house, restrooms and the concession stands.
“The concession stands (structure) will not be taken down at this time,” said Sailer. “However, it will be sometime down the road.”
Sailer said a new structure will help beautify Bane Park. The Parks and Rec Department hosts baseball tournaments at the park every summer, with this past summer hosting four tournaments consisting of 48 teams, and Sailer said it’s in the city’s best interest to have a park and its facilities looking nice.
“It’s almost an embarrassment,” Sailer said of hosting baseball teams from out-of-town using the warming house that was not in good shape. “People are always commenting on how nice our fields are, but never the warming house.”
Sailer said having a new structure is also in the city’s best interest if it decides to build the Miracle Field, a ball field for physically and mentally challenged children.
Tim Martin, who lives near Bane Park, watched the demolition for a short time. Martin said the warming house has a lot of memories for him. Martin said he worked at the park for nine summers and he also played there. He said his children now play at the park.
The city’s parks and recreation and street maintenance crew demolished the building. Workers began at 7:30 a.m. and the last wall collapsed around 2:15 p.m. Sailer said they plan to recycle as much material as possible.
To the crew’s surprise, they found two Louisville Slugger baseball bats within one of the brick walls. One of the bats was engraved with the name of baseball professional Wally Moon and the other bat had “Playground” engraved in it.
Moon, age 81, played in World Series in 1959 and 1963. He played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1965 World Series against the Minnesota Twins. His lifetime batting average was .289.
Sailer said he was not sure what he’ll do with the baseball bats.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.