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Thought this would be of interest, even though it's AAA.

The Principal hits a home run with Principal Park

The Principal Financial Group, The Greater Des Moines Baseball Co. and the city of Des Moines will announce a plan tomorrow to significantly enhance the ballpark housing the Iowa Cubs. The plan will complement The Principal Riverwalk and increase the attractiveness of downtown Des Moines for residents and visitors. The ballpark will be renamed ?Principal Park.? In honor of former Des Moines Register sports editor Garner W. (Sec) Taylor, the field will be commemorated ?Sec Taylor Field.?

Enhancements to the ballpark

The city of Des Moines has committed to accelerating its seat-replacement plan, which will provide new seats throughout the stadium for the coming season.

Stadium enhancements funded by the Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc., will include several features that were part of the ballpark's original redesign that took place prior to the 1992 season. The enhancements will make the project that was planned years ago complete, and seamlessly tie into The Principal Riverwalk.

These improvements will include:

Replacing the bleachers along first base with permanent grandstand seating.

A refurbished Cub Club facade, designed to match the design of the rest of the park.

A little league park/children's play area on the land just west of Third Street.

An additional entrance near the right field that will link up with The Principal Riverwalk. This entrance will include a plaza and fountain, providing a place for bikers and walkers to relax and enjoy the scenery.

A 20-foot-wide walkway will run along and atop the outfield wall, from the foul post in right field around the park and then in front of the renovated building housing the Cub Club.

A seating/picnic area will be added behind center field.

The Iowa Cubs will also add two new scoreboards ? an old-fashioned manual scoreboard for the right field ? in which a fan will have the opportunity to hand the numbers after each inning ? and a new video board, to be placed over the Cub Club in left field. The Iowa Cubs have also agreed to maintain The Principal Riverwalk and adjacent land where it abuts Iowa Cubs property, roughly from the Jackson Street Bridge to Martin Luther King Parkway. This includes beautifying the north bank of the Raccoon River.

Additional benefits

Like The Principal Riverwalk, Principal Park is another investment in a city where we have a major presence that will help us recruit even more top talent to the company. The improvements will allow the stadium to be used for additional programming, including outdoor concerts and performances ? contributing to the appeal of downtown Des Moines.

Tomorrow's announcement is being made in conjunction with the opening of The Principal Family Fun Fest in Des Moines and The Principal Night at the Iowa Cubs. The Fun Fest is a celebration of baseball featuring a traveling minor league baseball hall of fame, a fan festival midway with radar fast pitch, home run derby and more, traveling throughout the United States this summer.

The Principal Family Fun Fest is in Des Moines Aug. 5 ?7. It's free and members of the community are invited to the Fun Fest in honor of our 125th anniversary.

Improvements to Principal Park will total roughly $4.5 million, including $2.5 million from the Principal Financial Group Foundation, $1 million from the city of Des Moines, and up to $1 million from the Iowa Cubs.

The budget of the Foundation is separate from that of the Principal Financial Group and cannot be used to run our business. The Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc. was formed in 1987 to help strengthen communities in which the Principal Financial Group has a major employee presence.

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It currently is Sec Taylor Stadium. Under the new agreement, his name will remain on the field, but Principal purchased naming rights for the stadium.

I have a feeling the official name will be "Sec Taylor Field at Principal Park" or something like that, in spite of what the press release says.

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