The demolition of the historic Lawrence-Dumont baseball stadium is nearly complete as Wichita prepares to build a new $75 million complex in its place.
The corner near Maple and McLean, where Lawrence-Dumont stood for almost 85 years, is now a pile of twisted metal, broken concrete, and the odd blue chair.
Kelly Acasio and Stewart Smith have come to watch the crews sort through the rubble, and, Acasio said, “just to say goodbye."
She’s not a baseball fan, but grew up coming here, and has good memories of Lawrence-Dumont.
“Just being here with family," Acasio said. "The atmosphere of the stadium just lends itself to family time, and Americana.”
Smith worked at Lawrence-Dumont as a chef for a few years, he said, about a decade ago.
“It was a little different then," he said. "It’s kind of slowed down in attendance, and people just don’t seem to enjoy it as much anymore. ... Hopefully it does a lot better than it did."
The new stadium will have a capacity of about 10,000, about 4,000 more than Lawrence-Dumont did. The multi-sport complex, along with about $6 million in riverfront improvements, are scheduled to be complete in time for a new minor-league baseball team to start play in Wichita in 2020.
Smith says the new stadium will be an improvement, but he and Acasio liked Lawrence-Dumont, too.
"It really had its own charm," he said.