City, Sod Poodles welcome community to Hodgetown

On a sun-kissed Thursday afternoon Amarillo city officials joined Amarillo Sod Poodles personnel in welcoming the community to Hodgetown, the downtown ballpark that will serve as home of the San Diego Padres Double-A affiliate. During a ribbon cutting ceremony City Manager Jared Miller, former Amarillo Mayor Jerry Hodge, Amarillo Sod Poodles President and General Manager Tony Ensor and Mayor Ginger Nelson addressed the gathering, followed by an opportunity for attendees to view the venue from the main concourse.

“Things like this don’t happen accidentally,” Hodge said. “A group had a vision about the downtown ballpark. The fact that we have this many people show up for the ribbon cutting shows you the enthusiasm that the city and the community has for baseball. Amarillo is a great baseball town.”

Officials said the $45.5 million stadium project, which will have a seating capacity of 7,300-plus, was completed on time and within budget while possessing a 9.6 acre footprint.

“I’ve been around baseball my whole life and this doesn’t happen without a special group of people,” Ensor said in commending all parties involved in the initiative. “You’ve all seen our ticket prices, which range from $6 to $18 per ticket. That’s affordable because our founding partners made an investment in the team and have done something amazing in the community. We have seven of the top 30 San Diego Padres prospects on this team.”

Officials said after the Feb. 1, 2018, groundbreaking that spurred construction on March 1, 2018, there was 105,000 cubic yards of dirt removed from the site, just under 9,000 cubic yards of concrete poured, 14,000 tons of structural steel was erected and 75 percent of the work was completed by local subcontractors while employing 150 to 200 people on site each day of construction.

“We have the blessings of God over this community, and he blessed this project with good weather, safe working conditions and stamina for everyone who touched this project – and we are grateful for that,” Nelson said, thanking the team, as well as the general contractors and architect . “Lastly, we have our citizens to be grateful for – the people of Amarillo who supported this project with their votes, their voices and their determination to see these gates standing open and ready to receive them.”

Ensor said Amarillo residents are the true headliners.

“With all of this great team we’ve assembled, you have to have an MVP,” he said. “I cannot think of anyone who could be the MVP of this project and bring it to reality more so than the community and citizens of Amarillo. You are the MVP because you embraced it – not only the facility, but the team, the mascot and the name.”