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Huntington agrees to pay $12 million to name downtown ballpark

The new proposed downtown ball park for the Columbus Clippers has not been built yet but it has a name. Huntington Bank has agreed to purchase the naming rights for the stadium.

Huntington Park is set to open sometime during the 2008 season. The new ball park will take the place of Cooper Stadium. Huntington Bank is investing 12 (M) million dollars to help build the 55 (M) million dollar stadium. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman called Huntington Bank a hometown bank that will allow baseball to be played in downtown.

"This will be a great addition to the entire city and all our neighborhoods in our downtown. To have baseball in the middle of downtown, to have families come downtown to enjoy America's pastime: baseball. And I'm just thrilled to death to see this come together the way it is," Coleman said.

Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy says the new baseball stadium is part of a plan to revive downtown Columbus.

"It's part of the effort with the city to rejuvenate downtown and revitalize downtown. And I think it will bring more people downtown as an entertainment destination especially for family entertainment that is affordable."

The selling of the naming rights is a boost to the county's effort to finance the stadium without relying on tax payer dollars. President and CEO of Huntington Back, Tom Hoaglin, shared similar sentiments. Hoaglin says Huntington is committed to helping bring back downtown's livelihood.

"We think a new stadium in the arena district reinforces the vibrancy that I think all of us are beginning to see about downtown," said Hoaglin.

Construction of Huntington Park is scheduled to start later this year. The county has an agreement to purchase eight acres in the Arena District. The new stadium, which will be located at the northwest corner of Nationwide Boulevard and Neil Avenue, will seat about 10,000 fans.