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Cheney Stadium – The Pride of Tacoma

Business View Magazine

2018.02.21-Cheney Stadium-IMAGE

Photo Source: Business View Magazine

Business View Magazine interviews Nick Cherniske, Director of Stadium Operations, as part of our series on minor league sports venues.

Cheney Stadium is a minor league baseball stadium located in Tacoma, Washington, a city of approximately 211,000, on the banks of Puget Sound, some 32 miles southwest of Seattle. The development of Cheney Stadium as the home of Pacific Coast League baseball in Tacoma began in 1957 as a shared idea by area businessmen Ben Cheney and Clay Huntington. Following a three-year effort by these men, the San Francisco Giants agreed, in the fall of 1959, to relocate their Triple-A club from Phoenix to Tacoma, hinged on the city’s ability to construct a new stadium in time for the beginning of the 1960 season.

Tacoma’s city council quickly approved the deal, and the project took just over three months to complete, thus earning the stadium the moniker: the “100-Day Wonder.” The speed at which the venue was built was partially due to the importation of some historical pieces from the Seals Stadium, a minor league ballpark in San Francisco, built in 1931 and demolished in 1959. “When the idea to bring baseball to Tacoma became a reality, they put six light towers on a barge, along with all the fixed seats the stadium utilized, and sent them to Tacoma,” recounts Nick Cherniske, Director of Stadium Operations. “So we had Seals Stadium seats and light towers for many years. The light towers remain and we do have a small piece of the seating bowl that actually has the same 1891 wooden seats that have been a part of baseball for over 120 years.”

Image Source: Business View Magazine

Since its inception, Cheney Stadium has hosted seven different minor league baseball teams; it has been the home of the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, since 1995, who play 70 home games there, every season. Beginning in March 2018, the Seattle Sounders FC 2 of the United Soccer League will also play their home games at Cheney, while awaiting the construction of a new stadium of their own. The stadium also hosts concerts, commencements, and corporate events. “We call them ballpark takeovers,” Cherniske quips. “Because of the weather in the northwest, especially in the winter, a lot of what you see in the offseason is focused in our suites – events and parties in our restaurant and club areas.”

After 58 years of continuous operation – Cheney Stadium is baseball’s second oldest Triple-A park – the city of Tacoma, which owns the stadium, along with its partners, the Ben Cheney Foundation and the team’s ownership committee, approved an ambitious $30 million, offseason renovation plan to include a new grandstand structure, roof, and concourse; new concession stands and seats; 16 luxury suites; a right field berm addition, a club/restaurant; a kids’ play area; and more restrooms. The Rainiers clubhouse and dugout, formerly located along the first base line, have shifted to third base, with visiting teams now residing in the fully renovated first base location. What has not changed are the views fans have grown accustomed to – the ballpark’s grandstand is still the same one constructed more than five decades ago, with the steep pitch that makes every one of its 6,500 seats in the house a great one.

“Our average capacity rate is 83.6 percent, but in the summer months of the season, June, July, and August we reach the mid 90s” reports Megan Mead, Vice President of Marketing. “In the summer, there’s no more beautiful place to be than the Pacific Northwest. People love coming out to the park; it’s a great place for families. On a clear day, we have a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier from the stadium. In the summer months, in particular, we’re selling out games, frequently.”

Mead adds that the stadium also serves as a community asset in a multitude of ways. “Tacoma is about 25 minutes south of Seattle and we have a very unique community and culture, here,” she explains. “And we have a deep connection to that community, so we make sure that we’re creating a first-class experience for everybody in the city – whether that be baseball, or, now, soccer, or the community events we support. We’ve got sports camps where we partner with local organizations that get kids out to the field. Our players visit the local children’s hospital; they do school visits. We do summer movie nights – family-friendly movies that are free and open to the public. We have a full-scale whiffle ball field that’s onsite here and open to Tacoma citizens as long as we’re not in a game. So, there’s a deep connection to the community that’s really important to us.”

Media and Communications Manager, Brett Gleason, adds that Cheney Stadium is also a good environmental citizen. “We’re a member of the Green Sports Alliance, and we have a large emphasis on stormwater prevention,” he says. “The volume of rain we get in the northwest is significant, so with pervious asphalt in our parking lots, as well as the drive coming into the stadium, we’re reducing and ideally, eliminating the amount of surface water that makes its way into the storm drains and finds its way into the Puget Sound. Also, in the 70 games that we host, we have an 8th inning recycle break, where members of the ushering staff make their way throughout the stands and ask guests to recycle with us. We take a proactive approach to collect everybody’s recyclables and make sure that they’re disposed of correctly.” Mead adds that the stadium hosts sustainability nights on Tuesdays – fans who bring in cans for recycling get discounted tickets for Tuesday night games.

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First US Ski Resort to Operate on 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Climate Action

2018.02.20.RenewableSkiResort-IMAGE

Image Source: Climate Action

The famous Lake Tahoe resorts in California will be the first ski facilities in the US to operate on 100 percent renewable energy, eliminating emissions which would be a threat to the industry’s future.

The owner company Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows’ has partnered with the electric service provider Liberty Utilities to identify and develop new renewable energy generation, storage and efficiency projects to benefit the two Lake Tahoe resorts as well as the entire Olympic Valley area.

Andy Wirth, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said: “Solar power has come down in cost so much that it’s accessible now.  It’s a purely economic decision. And it’s also about how we operate sustainably long into the future”.

“We’re glad to finally advance on this key, strategic level changeover to 100 percent renewable-sourced energy”, he added.

After it meets 100 percent of its energy needs, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows expects to halve its carbon footprint. More specifically, its annual carbon emissions will reduce from 13,078 to approximately 6,682 metric tonnes- a decrease of 49 percent generating carbon savings equivalent to the electric use of 957 homes.

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“Saves for Trees” Launched at Canadian Ice Hockey Game

Climate Action

London Knights ice hockey team. Image Source: Climate Action.

London Knights ice hockey team. Image Source: Climate Action.

The London Knights ice hockey team in Canada has recently implemented a range of sustainability initiatives, including planting trees for every save its goalkeeper makes.

The team’s first ever green event was launched over the weekend during a home game at the Budweiser Gardens in Ontario.

“Over the last year, there has been a conscious effort by our team at Budweiser Gardens to evaluate our practices and procedures and look for ways that we can implement environmentally responsible practices”, said Brian Ohl, the stadium’s general manager.

The team has worked with local environmental groups to launch the ‘Saves for Trees’ programme at the game. In total, the Knights goalkeeper made 44 saves during Saturday’s match against rivals the Sudbury Wolves. These trees will contribute to the ‘Million Tree Challenge’, a community project designed to improve the city’s air quality and environment.

The official game sponsor, Downtown London, has agreed to match the total and will plant an equal number of trees. Fans have also been encouraged to join the initiative by sponsoring a tree.

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SPORTS MEMBERS INCLUDE...
396
TOTAL SPORTS MEMBERS
188
TEAMS
193
VENUES
15
LEAGUES